Nike takes a social stand on race relations: ‘Don’t turn your back on racism’

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Nike’s famous slogan “Just Do It” was subverted by its own Instagram post.

The footwear company posted on Friday evening a socially conscious message to its more than 112 million followers.

Incidents that resulted in the deaths of black men and women in the United States have taken the forefront this week, and with a simple text-on-screen video, Nike made its stance clear.

The post reads:

“For once, Don’t Do It. Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent. Don’t think you can’t be part of the change. Let’s all be part of the change.”

The post comes amid protests in cities across the U.S. spurred by frustration over the circumstances of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.  

In Minneapolis, a video showed that for eight minutes on Monday, a white police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and gasped, “I can’t breathe” and died shortly after. No charges were made in the case until Friday. 

Near Brunswick, Georgia, Arbery was shot and killed in February while jogging after being pursued by two white men who later said they thought he was a burglary suspect. Charges against the men involved in the killing weren’t brought until May after a video surfaced. 

And in Louisville, Kentucky activists, community leaders and state and federal lawmakers have called for independent investigations into Taylor’s death. The fatal shooting of Taylor, a  26-year-old ER technician, occurred in her home during a narcotics investigation. Her boyfriend fired a single shot at the officers, saying the police didn’t identify themselves and wounded one of them. The police fired more than 20 rounds, striking Taylor at least eight times. 

This isn’t the first time Nike has chosen to take a stand on the issue of racial inequality and police brutality in America.

On September of 2019, Nike renewed its endorsement deal with Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines for his peaceful protest of police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games.

The decision drew a mixed reaction on social media, and Nike shares briefly fell the day of the announcement, but recovered and spiked in the days after.

Nike’s video post on Instagram with the caption “Let’s all be part of the change. #UntilWeAllWin” had over 400,00 views and almost 2,000 an hour after it was posted.

Follow Josh Rivera on Twitter: @Josh1Rivera.

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