Today I bought my first Nike Swoosh cap. How could I resist the brand’s embrace of Colin Kaepernick’s NFL kneeling movement and Nike’s wager that freedom of expression will succeed in breaking the chains of systematic racism which are preventing everyone in our country from realizing their God-given potential precisely when the idea of American democracy is under attack all around the globe.
In the context of the Supreme Court’s 1989 Texas vs. Johnson ruling that the freedom represented by our nation’s flag is more important than the symbol of this precious freedom, this week’s spectacle of offended citizens burning their Nike products suggests that the current debate is at once less rational and infinitely more impassioned.
One hundred and two years ago, John Dewey wrote, “The things which we take for granted without inquiry or reflection are just the things which determine our conscious thinking and decide our conclusions.” By experimenting with its brand in its new marketing campaign, Nike is stimulating a national conversation with the potential to challenge Americans to reflect more deeply on the meaning of “liberty and justice for all.”
Robert Bruce Scott