Chris Long never has shied away from speaking his mind, and Colin Kaepernick’s new deal with Nike was no exception.
The popular clothing and sneaker company made the NFL free-agent quarterback the face of its “Just Do It” 30th-anniversary campaign, and while it has been met with both criticism and praise, the Philadelphia Eagles defensive end welcomes it, saying it serves as a reinforcement for people to continue to stand up for their beliefs.
“For a lot of kids and for a lot of younger people that might feel like — especially people of color — that are looking at Kaep and saying, ‘Well, if I speak my mind there’s going to be this negative repercussion by the powers at be.’ The NFL being one of them who’s obviously levied unofficially their blackballing,” Long said, as transcribed by ForTheWin. “But then you see a major corporation like Nike get behind him, it kind of reinforces that you can still stand up for what you believe in, and you can still be a mainstream face that people look at. And you can be marketable. That’s the positive of it to me.”
The 33-year-old also noted the importance the ad could have on children, saying Nike is showing if someone takes a stand for what they believe in doesn’t mean the “mainstream” will be against them.
“I think you can still look at Nike and be like, ‘Hey, Nike’s gotta do better in general.’ And this is a step in the right direction, and it’s for the reason of there are kids looking at that and saying, ‘Well, if I take a risk like Colin and speak my mind and tell the truth, am I gonna be kind of shut out from the mainstream?’ And Nike’s doing a good job of reinforcing that that’s not true.”
And while Nike has received plenty of backlash for the ad, Kaepernick certainly has the support of Long, and seemingly New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who liked an Instagram post of the ad.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images