Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick may not be seen running up and down a field these days, but he’s definitely making major moves as a social justice activist. In spite of controversy and mixed public opinion, Nike brands have upheld their relationship with Kaepernick, which has proven to be a financially beneficial partnership for the brand. To celebrate the Fourth of July, Nike was set to release the “Air Max 1 USA” sneaker, which included the slave-era, Colonial American flag design by Betsy Ross. Kaepernick advised the representation of the 13-star flag while historical is offensive based on its association with America’s racist history and current day hate-based organizations. Heeding his advice, the company pulled the sneaker from stores and saw a 2 percent stock increase, which added $3 billion in market value to the brand.
Fighting for equal representation in all aspects of business and politics is a common theme for most social justice activists. The inclusion of African American voices in high powered, decision making roles is proving to be both beneficial and necessary for organizations interested in maintaining their brands. Consumers are becoming more invested in companies whose values align with social issues that are important to them. Large corporations are starting to understand the financial impact of losing the “black dollar,” and we are beginning to see a shift in how these companies operate in order to ensure they continue to receive support from the black community.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Not everyone agrees on Kaepernick’s approach, but the fact is, all hero’s don’t wear capes, and he is getting things done.