Jenifer Lewis, star of “Black-ish,” showed up to the Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday night decked out in Nike gear.
Before the ceremony, she told Variety she had made the choice to support the athletic company’s decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in its new ad campaign.
“I am wearing Nike to applaud them for supporting Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racial injustice and police brutality.”
The ad campaign features Kaepernick’s face in black and white, with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” superimposed over it.
Lewis said that she had been thinking, “What can I do? What can I do that’s meaningful? I’ll wear Nike. I’ll wear Nike to say thank you. Thank you for leading the resistance! We need more corporate America to stand up also.”
Jenifer Lewis: "I am wearing Nike to applaud them for supporting Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racial injustice and police brutality" #Emmys https://t.co/DApUrVDBlu pic.twitter.com/xuq0y1vJ5L
— Variety (@Variety) September 17, 2018
Nike has drawn criticism from many on the Right for its ad campaign decision. Kaepernick became a household name after the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before football games. Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized Kaepernick’s protests and those of the other players who eventually joined him in kneeling or otherwise protesting.
Kaepernick became a free agent at the end of the 2016 season — and was not picked up by another team. He is currently suing the NFL, claiming that it colluded to keep him out of the league over his protests.
Other players have continued protesting, including Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson of the Miami Dolphins, even though the team owners have suggested a rule that would forbid players from being on the field during the anthem if they are not going to stand.
An episode of “Black-ish” focused on Kaepernick’s protests, but ABC got rid of it due to “creative differences.”
The network has claimed that the protests were not the reason it scrapped the episode, however.
After the announcement of Nike’s new campaign, there were widespread calls to boycott Nike; some Twitter users posted videos of their Nike shoes on fire or otherwise being destroyed.
Nike stock fell significantly.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 17, 2018
However, after a sales total over Labor Day that was much stronger than expected — which many attribute to the ad campaign — Nike stock has recovered and even exceeded its original total.
Many other celebrities and athletes, including Jim Carrey, LeBron James, and Kathy Griffin, have also come out in support of Nike’s decision.
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