Can We Support Colin Kaepernick and Still Hate Nike For Abusing Foreign Workers?

Nike shoe company has signed a supportive endorsement deal for Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who has been blackballed by the NFL for participating in the #BlackLivesMatter movement by taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. The problem for social justice-minded Americans is, can we support Kaepernick without supporting Nike, which is infamous for abusing its workers overseas and outsourcing American jobs?

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About Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at, editor-in-chief of, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography "Trump," to be published in July 2016.

22 thoughts on “Can We Support Colin Kaepernick and Still Hate Nike For Abusing Foreign Workers?

  1. Re (below) @ Alex:

    “Colin Kaepernick’s taking of a knee is a protest that is seen as race-based.”

    If this observation is accurate, presumably said opinion is held in inverse proportion
    to extent that police murdering of black 12-18 year-olds in US streets in NOT
    seen as race-based.

    (This is a fortuitous corollary to the observation that one’s racism is inversely
    proportional to the effort one expends insisting one is NOT a racist.)

      • To Alex the Tired:
        (in the following “K” is Kaepernick)

        You literally can’t tell?

        Really? Well, I literally couldn’t tell if the single sentence to which I referred was actually your opinion or your neutral restatement of the opinion of some other source. (The verbiage following this sentence in your post further obscured what your actual opinion was/is.)

        I therefore had no basis, nor intent, to agree or disagree. I was simply showing that, >IF< K’s protests. in fact, are “seen” as raced-based, this was easily understood in the context of the exceptionally racist USA. No more, no less.

        Did you at least understand what I wrote, above, independent of your
        1) not knowing if I was (dis)agreeing with you
        2) agreeing with it, or not?

        Now that we are on the topic, I'll proceed with my actual (dis)agreements regarding the remainder of your post.

        I agree:

        1) that we are all hypocrites BUT I think you missed the perfect opportunity to point out that
        we are all racists, too.

        2) that Nike is the epitome of the scum-sucking, abusive corporate giant.

        3) with your proposal for a second-generation NFL protest: "lying down on the ground and
        shouting 'I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!' ”

        4) with your description of HRC supporters, having myself, more than once, called all 65 million of them … the true American deplorables.

        But the rest is hazy at best.

        I would take issue with your notion that "Race is simply a symptom of an unjust system." I'd say racism is aptly described so. But "race," itself, is yet another easily identifiable characteristic for the few to exploit to realize their divide & conquer strategy to guarantee their prestige, power and control over the unjust system they have meticulously constructed and viciously maintain. (“Race” in humans has no genetic or biological existence or meaning.)

        The need, much less the meaning, of the verbal machinations regarding non-K, NFL players was not clear. Why do all the other NFL players need to be compared to Mohammed Ali. Why not compare K to Ali? Further, why not quickly make your point about Ali instead of leaving it to the interested reader to "Google" into the reams of available information … much, presumably irrelevant to whatever was your, unstated, point.

        I also wondered if you really meant that K, himself, was like Hillary supporters? Maybe K-supporters are like HRC-supporters … or K like HRC?

        But, even given the apples/oranges comparison, you did not make the case of how K is like the HRC supporters. Once again, leave it to the reader and they might arrive at a conclusion nowhere near what you though but neglected to write.

        So, while you seem to be adopting the ploy of CrazyH, i.e.: "I can't understand you," let it be clear that while we desperately need to realize that we are all hypocrites and racists, perhaps it would be best to use that opportunity to also accept that we are not necessarily the crystal clear writers we might think we are or desire to be.

  2. “You know what a shit barometer is, Bubs? It measures the shit pressure in the air. You can feel it. Listen, Bubs. Hear that? Sounds of the whispering winds of shit.”

    The asshole with the Molotov would have used a PLASTIC water bottle.

  3. Oh, hell yeah.

    If I gave a damn about feetzball, I’d be writing letters & signing petitions to have the poor guy reinstated. It took BALLS to sit out the anthem in front of thousands of fans and millions of home viewers; and he wound up losing a highly lucrative career for it. How many of us would give up twenty-one million a year ‘cuz racism?

    The man deserves our respect. Nike, not so much. But here’s a different spin: Kaepernick is using THEM to get HIS message out. Doesn’t mean we have to buy Nike products (and I don’t)

    • Kaepernick is using THEM to get HIS message out.

      Exactly! Go Kaepernick.

      Shame on the racist Nazis who really don’t care who lives and who dies (except for their own “precious” selves).

      And good luck to Kaepernick on his NFL owner collusion suit.

    • ” But here’s a different spin: Kaepernick is using THEM to get HIS message out.”

      Hahaha, what the fuck did NIKE pay them? NIKE receives the illusion of caring, unless you are a poor Yellow person, about race. Mulato dude gets some bucks and street cred.
      Maher will be blowing him in an upcoming episode while Moore fingers his Prostrate.
      I still can not believe how gullible people are.

  4. Let me put it this way: I can both walk and chew gum.

    I saw the Nike ad and it brought a tear to my eye, but it never made me reconsider Nike as being one of the good guys.

    I can support Colin Kaepernick’s activism in the same way that I supported that of Bernie Sanders.

    Positive changes in understanding will only be made by critical thinkers; believers will always be swept away in the next ideological tide.

    Eugene Debs wanted people to think critically and not just believe in him, because what one unquestioningly believes one day will be different after hearing another argument made another day.

    I supported Bernie Sanders with campaign donations because of his message, even though he promised to support the eventual Democratic Party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton.

    I was able to respect Bernie’s message even while simultaneously disrespecting him by giving him a hearty F.U. when talking about him for his promise to defect to the Democratic Party dark side, a promise he made, and I always believed he would keep, and he did.

    Propagating a message can be a good thing even when the messenger is flawed, provided one can deal with the resultant cognitive dissonance.

    Every lie must have an element of truth in it in order to be believable. It’s incumbent upon critical thinkers to support a truth even when it stinks of the self-serving rhetorical crap it’s embedded in.

    I saw the Nike ad and it brought a tear to my eye, but it never made me reconsider Nike as being one of the good guys… and I’m still not a believer in Nike.

    • “I saw the Nike ad and it brought a tear to my eye, but it never made me reconsider Nike as being one of the good guys.”

      Holy fuck how high were you?
      The trial of Billy Jack had people crying in the audience.
      And that scene was more touching plus done independently plus dealt with Native Americans.
      Quick bit of trivia, Howard Hesseman was in Billy Jack and Walter Cronkite’s daughter was in Trial of Billy Jack.

      • Glenn

        That high eh?
        Or do you simply hate any message not aimed at a specific target audience. Say Millennials with White guilt?
        Couple decades ago, before the casino boom, it was White Guilt for Native Americans.
        Now it’s White guilt for Hood Rats and Illegals.
        Someday Glenn your balls will drop and you will stop crying at commercials.
        Personally I have not seen a commercial in years.
        I did like the frying pan egg one about your brain on drugs. I guess that made a lot of people want to eat eggs.
        Not many cried for the poor egg though.
        Maybe some Vegans and PETA.
        Did you weep openly for the egg? Did you wail and gnash your teeth? Did you forswear eggs and all egg related products? Eggos even?
        Was that commercial weeping at a sports bar? Did you have to hide your face whilst the tears flowed freely? Was the sobbing uncontrollable so much so that other patrons worried you were having a fit?
        Suck it up snowflake, it was all fake media manipulation. Right down to the lighting, make up and subliminals.

      • Glenn

        Learn to really insultingly swear

        Like this

        Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks:

        As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians – I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.

        –Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV

        The Cossacks’ reply came as a stream of invective and vulgar rhymes, parodying the Sultan’s titles:[citation needed]

        Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!

        O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil’s kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are thou, that canst not slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil shits, and your army eats. Thou shalt not, thou son of a whore, make subjects of Christian sons; we have no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck thy mother.

        Thou Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig’s snout, mare’s arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw thine own mother!

        So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won’t even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we’ll conclude, for we don’t know the date and don’t own a calendar; the moon’s in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day’s the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!

        – Koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.

  5. At the risk of getting blackballed myself …

    Colin Kaepernick’s taking of a knee is a protest that is seen as race-based. But as all good Marxist enemies of the bourgeoisie will tell you, the Struggle (TM) is class/economics based. Race is simply a symptom of an unjust system. We’ve all been so indoctrinated by identity politics that we can’t see the forest for the trees.

    How many black players in the NFL are taking a knee? How many show up on the field and, instead of taking the snap and running for the end zone, are lying down on the ground and shouting “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”? Google Muhammad Ali and Vietnam. I’ll wait.

    The average black sports player is, apparently, quite content to not take a knee or to take a knee in the same way a lot of people show up at church every Easter. Oh, he’ll engage in a little protesting, but really upsetting the apple cart? All those people on a playing field? Those are the success stories. Those are the apex performers. They are on a level of ability that puts them in the top fraction of the top one percent. They are the equivalent of the hedge fund managers. And just like the hedgies, the last thing they’re going to do is upset the gravy train.

    Does anyone reading this think Nike gives a single solitary fuck about its slave laborers? Of course not. Nike cares about Nike’s corporate image and its share price. Remember when Apple used to allow engraving until a couple of people started getting “Slave Labor Made This” printed on the cases? Apple sure stopped that in a hurry.

    Do I think Kaepernick is sincere? Yes. I do. But he reminds me of a lot of the Hillary supporters who simply could not stop gushing over how great she was because she was a woman. Even though gender doesn’t matter, these people were practically wetting themselves in excitement over the chance to vote for, you know, a woman (however, let’s keep in mind, gender is totes not an issue, except when it is, like now, when the media narrative has half the country brimming to the gunwales with excitement over the chance to vote for a warmongering centrist who makes secret six-figure speeches to corporations and who has excellent healthcare that you don’t deserve and won’t get when she’s president because she will be opposed on every single thing she might do–which is a slender reed in itself–that would actually benefit you). People who can’t come up with $2,000 in an emergency couldn’t wait to vote in a millionaire with a pension who thinks $15/hour is too much because she was a woman (even though gender is completely not something that’s relevant.)

    Kaepernick, like many of us, is a hypocrite. I can support his message about Black Lives Mattering, even while I say to myself that he’s yet another sellout. He’s got a lot of company… on the field and off it.

    • “Colin Kaepernick’s taking of a knee is a protest that is seen as race-based”

      Dude is half white? Which race was he supporting?
      DNA says I’m 6% West African. Can I call myself Black?

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Now, as a blactino woman, I believe we deserve our own race category to forge an identity, Jerry. That’s how I feel.

      Jerry Springer: Did you just say “blactino”?

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Yes, I did. I’m a blactino-American.

      Chinegro Woman: Wow. Uh, first of all… first of all, you don’t even look latino. You look black. You’re… You’re black. Second of all, I’m of mixed race, and I’ve struggled my whole life as to whether I’m Chinese or whether I’m black.

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Chinegro! What you are is chinegro!

      Chinegro Woman: Chinegro?

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Chinegro! There you go!

      Chinegro Woman: Chinegro?

      Lateesha Rodriguez: You are a chinegro!

      Chinegro Woman: What the


      Chinegro Woman: is chinegro?

      Lateesha Rodriguez: That’s what you are! Chinegro is you!

      Chinegro Woman: That’s some bulls…


      Chinegro Woman: .

      Jerry Springer: OK, as I understand it, you brought a mixed-race flow chart with you. Why don’t we bring that out?

      [Crowd shouting and booing]

      Lateesha Rodriguez: [to a random heckler] How you doin’, sugar? All right. I’m gonna call you later. Mwah. All right.

      [Crowd laughs]

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Take a look at this…

      [she unveils the chart]

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Blactino, blackasian, hispasian, OK? Now, for the Asian subcategories,

      [to the Chinegro woman]

      Lateesha Rodriguez: I got you, sister. We have chinegro right here. That’s you. Chinegro.

      Chinegro Woman: That’s not a word! That’s not a word!

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Yes, it is, sister. We have koreagro. Japegro, OK?

      [Crowd laughs]

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Chispanic, koreaspanic, and last but not least, check this out, y’all… japanic.

      [Crowd cheering]

      Lateesha Rodriguez: That’s how I flow with it!

      Jerry Springer: Do you believe the government should recognise these racial subgroups?

      Lateesha Rodriguez: Yes, Jerry, I do.

    • “At the risk of getting blackballed myself …”

      Am I the only one who got that joke?
      Freaking genius.
      Gregg Davies tells this story about a Welsh song his father taught him. About twenty years later another Welsh speaker translated it for him. Cool his father set into motion a joke that wouldn’t bear fruit for years/

    • “Kaepernick, like many of us, is a hypocrite. I can support his message about Black Lives Mattering, even while I say to myself that he’s yet another sellout. He’s got a lot of company… on the field and off it.”

      Most play the race card.
      Boondocks the cartoon series had an episode where a Sharptonesque character was complaining how the Gays stole his Schtick. Then the Gay spokesman comes in bitching how the Mentally challenged stole the same schtick.
      “Martin Luther King: Is this it? This is what I got all those ass-whoopings for? I had a dream once. It was a dream that little black boys and little black girls would drink from the river of prosperity, freed from the thirst of oppression. But lo and behold, some four decades later, what have I found but a bunch of trifling, shiftless, good-for-nothing niggers? And I know some of you don’t want to hear me say that word. It’s the ugliest word in the English language, but that’s what I see now: niggers. And you don’t want to be a nigger, ’cause niggers are living contradictions! Niggers are full of unfulfilled ambitions! Niggers wax and wane, niggers love to complain! Niggers love to hear themselves talk but hate to explain! Niggers love being another man’s judge and jury! Niggers procrastinate until it’s time to worry! Niggers love to be late, niggers hate to hurry! Black Entertainment Television is the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life! Usher, “Michael Jackson” is *not* a genre of music! And now I’d like to talk about “Soul Plane”. I’ve seen what’s around the corner, I’ve seen what’s over the horizon, and I promise you, you niggers won’t have nothing to celebrate. And no, I won’t get there with you. I’m going to Canada. ”

      “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

      “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

      – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  6. To the rhetorical question of the strip:

    Yes … especially if Kaepernick uses the Nike $’s to find a (much) less execrable sponsor and then begins an education project against myriad Nike abuses as effective as his former NFL effort.

    Is he in Pelosi’s district?

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