Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who inspired the protest movement of NFL players, but who has not played in the NFL for over a year, signed a multiyear contract with Nike making him the face of the sports apparel maker’s 30th anniversary of its campaign “Just Do It.”
The first ad from Nike, which is one of the top partners with the league, debuted on Monday, when it was tweeted by Kaepernick, which assures that the protest movement and especially his activism against social injustice and racism that the former quarterback started would be continuing to hang over the most power U.S. sports leagues.
Nike will make new Kaepernick apparel that will include a T-shirt and shoe, and if that merchandise is successful, the value of this new deal will rival those of other players in the NFL, said people who are close to the situation.
Nike is also donating money to the former quarterback’s current campaign of “Know Your Rights.”
The new campaign and first ad comes just days prior to the start of the 2018 NFL regular season that begins on Thursday. It is likely to upset the top executives in the league as well as the owners.
Kaepernick was victorious last Thursday in a grievance he filed against the NFL after an arbitrator allowed his case, where he accused the NFL of conspiring to keep him from playing because of the activism he carried out, to move forward.
The on-field protests continue, but with different levels, since the summer of 2016, when Kaepernick started to kneel when the national anthem was played.
The NFL is struggling to contain the protests, which have included raised clenched fists and other forms of expression that officials in the league blame for ratings of the league to fall.
Television ratings declined and certain members of the fan base reacted angrily. The NFL has been targeted by President Donald Trump for hit firing the players that continue to kneel during the national anthem.
In March, the NFL and Nike announced that the current apparel deal was extended through 2028. Part of the deal has Nike supplying the 32 teams in the league with their game-day uniforms as well as sideline apparel that features the famous swoosh logo of the company.
Time will tell what happens to that deal and if the NFL will make any official comment related to the Kaepernick deal.