Don’t be Too Quick to Drink the Nike Kool-Aid
Tanzi West Barbour
September 6, 2018

This is my new mantra for my two sons and, quite frankly, for myself. When the poster becomes available, I will buy it and hang it in our home with the rest of our Black Power images and sayings. As a family, we believe in speaking our truths. My children are 12 and 8 years old. Young, I know. But, I made a vow to myself that I would spend my life helping to ensure that they are the freest Black men you would ever want to meet. They would also be the most intelligent when it comes to understanding what they say they believe in.

So therefore, honesty, truth, and standing up for what’s right has to prevail in our house.

My children are fans of Michael Jordan. So am I…as a basketball player. Off the court – not so much. I had to tell them about his womanizing and having children out of wedlock. And yes, I told him about his gambling situation that he had a few years back. Does that make him less of a great athlete? No, but it makes him human and not the demi-God they were starting to believe he was.

It’s the same thing here with Colin Kapernick and Nike. I believe in what Kapernick is doing. I support him. I have sat during the National Anthem and raised a fist during the Black National Anthem. It means something to me. My oldest son concluded on his own last year that he wasn’t fond of his classroom job of leading the Pledge of Allegiance in school because he didn’t believe there was “liberty and justice for all.” So, he chose to mouth those words instead of speaking them. In my opinion, that was his knee and I supported him.

I like Nike. I like their brand. I like their style. However, marketing is part of my profession so I am well-aware of the significant impact a well-marketed campaign can do for a company’s bottom line. Therefore, I’m hesitant to drink all of the Nike Kool-aid on this new campaign just yet. I need to know if they are going to put any money where their social justice mouths seem to be taking them. Will there be a donation to Kapernick’s Foundation? As much as I am hopeful that Nike will make a social justice conscious effort to do more with this campaign and opportunity, I am just as aware that there is definitely a focus on a bottom line somewhere – which kind of takes a little wind out of this exciting sail for me.

Just my two cents…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *