Shit that Pissed me Off – 9/7/18
Here’s where we ask ourselves the question “why the fuck does the President of the United States keep inserting himself into this shit?”
I mean, that’s what we would ask if it wasn’t becoming so commonplace. But Trump has already made it clear that he is standing up for the American Flag against Kaepernick, who famously chose to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. He has chosen Football as a battleground and Kaepernick as the opposing general.
But let’s back up.
This weekend, Nike released the following image:
I’m going to say something that may be polarizing.
Nobody should have a problem with this.
What is this ad saying? It is saying that Kaepernick believed in something so much, he sacrificed his job to speak out.
So what’s the issue, conservative America? Are you not willing to do that? Would you rather Nike had chose the picture of a white supremacist who lost his job after the Charlottesville rally?
I mean, what’s the issue with this sentiment? Are you willing to do what Kaepernick did?
I’m guessing no. Because while some of you are burning Nike gear you already bought (brilliant), you aren’t risking anything to do it. Nothing.
So congratulations. You believed in hating Kaepernick so much, you set fire to something you already owned. What did it cost you?
Now before we go showering Nike with praise, let’s remember they are still a garment manufacturer and unless your clothes say “made in the USA” on them, you should understand that there are some exploited workers involved in the process.
Heck, if they say “Made in the USA,” there is a greater than zero chance they were produced by undocumented workers or workers making minimum wage so that isn’t even much better.
Nike has actually worked to improve working conditions over the last decade but let’s be clear: it still isn’t perfect. For the free market to work effectively, workers are probably going to be exploited. It’s one of the inherent flaws in the system.
And even if Nike solved all the worker treatment issues, we have to understand that the primary focus of this ad campaign is to sell shoes.
While they have stood behind their decision in a very well worded statement (that exhaustive Google searches have failed to produce but seriously – it was nicely done), the fact is Nike is doing all of this because they believe it will make them money. While their stock prices fell a little bit and their brand is currently viewed less positively than it was a week ago, I’d like someone to tell me another clothing manufacturer we were talking about over the last several days.
That was the point. And it worked beautifully. Even the jackasses who have a problem with a person of color kneeling quietly during the National Anthem are talking about Nike.
The President of the United States is talking about Nike.
I’m talking about Nike.
So Nike may lose in the short run. But they win in the long run. Because we are all talking about Nike.
What we should not lose in all of this conversation is the simple fact that no matter the purpose of this campaign (and the purpose is to make money), the message is a good one.
It shouldn’t matter your politics. Nor should people be calling for the use of Pat Tillman instead of Kaepernick because fuck that noise. All evidence shows Tillman would have stood with Kaepernick on this issue but that doesn’t even matter. Tillman and Kaepernick should both be admired for sacrificing something.
Also, when Tillman’s widow asks you to cut it out, you should cut it the fuck out.
The dialogue around military service in this country sometimes falls into a tired argument about how military service is sacrifice and nothing else compares to it. We deify the men and women who serve in the armed forces to the point that we burn stuff we already bought because a person of color knelt during the national anthem which has nothing to do with military service.
Note: Military service can be important and I totally respect anyone who has made that choice. I do not, however, believe it is the only good and decent choice someone can make in life and people who have served in the military are not inherently better or more worth of consideration than those who have not.
And let me circle back to our President at this point because I think we all need to understand something about Donald Trump.
He doesn’t give a fuck about Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem. Nor does he give a fuck about the troops.
He just knows that the people who blindly follow him care about those issues. And he knows that if he keeps them fired up about bullshit, they will ignore every decision he makes that hurt them. They will ignore when he points out that Nike is a tenant in one of his buildings.
I mean, Trump pointed out that he does business with Nike even as he uses the platform of the Presidency to criticize them.
So what’s really going on? What is he doing there? He’s using his leverage as President to affect his business dealings.
This isn’t a nut job conspiracy theory. This is what he’s been doing all along. It isn’t hard to see.
Everything Trump does is for the betterment of himself. His Supreme Court picks are going to make it easier for him to do business when he is no longer President. His entire Presidency is a business transaction.
So while conservatives burn their shoes, Trump counts his money. And so does Nike.
And so does Colin Kaepernick. Because Nike is paying him to be in these ads.
Now the difference is that Kaepernick is using his face and his money to speak out for causes in which he believes. I respect the hell out of that and I respect the hell out of him.
No matter your personal politics, you should too. This ad campaign should only piss you off if you believe nobody should be talking about racial injustice any more.
Besides, when Kaepernick was kneeling during the anthem, he wasn’t actually speaking. He let everyone else do the speaking for him.
Instead, he was donating money and time to the cause he believed in. It cost him his job.
Are you willing to do that? Or are you just willing to throw away some clothing and complain that Nike chose a person of color over a dead white guy?
Kaepernick is still speaking. He’s still sacrificing. He experiences the kind of hatred and vitriol that I can’t imagine. Far worse than Donald Trump will ever experience. And Trump actually deserves it.
The fact he isn’t admired by every person in America is an embarrassment.
Yes. An embarrassment.
PS: The Nike ad he narrated is fucking brilliant.