Nike’s two-minute advertisement dropped just days after the company revealed that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and athlete would be the face of the Just Do It campaign. Kaepernick became the face of anthem protests over police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues in the U.S. two years ago.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” Kaepernick tweeted along with the video.
The ad depicts young athletes striving towards their goals and dreams even if the results seem “crazy.” Some of the world’s top athletes including Serena Williams and LeBron James appear in the video, along with Canada’s Davies, a 17-year-old Ghana refugee and winger for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
WATCH: Nike calls Kaepernick inspirational, but as Eric Sorensen reports, it’s ignited a firestorm.
“If you’re born a refugee, don’t let it stop you from playing soccer for the national team at age 16,” Kaepernick says.
Davies was born in a refugee camp in Ghana on Nov. 2, 2000, after his parents fled the civil war in Liberia.
Nike’s endorsement deal with Kaepernick sparked a heated debate as sports fans reacted to the apparel giant backing the controversial athlete. It became a trending topic on Twitter and other social networks, with some fans urging a boycott of the company’s clothes and sneakers. Some even burned their apparel and cut out the signature swoosh logos on their gear.
Others pushed back, saying the backlash against Nike showed the polarizing debate has morphed well beyond whether NFL players should be allowed to demonstrate for social causes while the national anthem plays in stadiums before games.
WATCH: Serena Williams supports Nike’s decision to endorse Colin Kaepernick
The league itself weighed in Tuesday with an executive saying the social issues Kaepernick has raised are valid.
“We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” said Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vice-president of communications and public affairs. “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
Last week, Kaepernick scored a legal victory in his grievance against the NFL and its 32 teams when an arbitrator allowed his case to continue to trial. The quarterback claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests. His case hinges on whether owners worked together rather than decided individually to not sign Kaepernick.
“Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if they’re crazy enough,” Kaepernick says at the end of the Nike ad.
–with files from the Associated Press