San Francisco 49ers

‘It resonated with me’: How 49ers are responding to Colin Kaepernick’s Nike deal

Nike unveils Colin Kaepernick as the face of its newest ‘Just Do It’ ad

Nike on Monday unveiled Colin Kaepernick as the face of its newest ad, released for the 30th anniversary of the company's "Just Do It" slogan.
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Nike on Monday unveiled Colin Kaepernick as the face of its newest ad, released for the 30th anniversary of the company's "Just Do It" slogan.

Marquise Goodwin was never a teammate of Colin Kaepernick, but the 49ers receiver still keeps in regular contact with the club’s polarizing former quarterback. And Wednesday, he said Kaepernick’s new endorsement deal with Nike is a step in the right direction for Kaepernick’s protest of racial discrimination and police brutality.

“It resonated with me in a positive way,” said Goodwin, who is also endorsed by Nike. “Seeing that Nike respects the peaceful protests that have been shown for the past couple years, I think it’s great for a company as big as Nike to hop on board and support things that will eventually have a positive effect on this world.”

The sports apparel giant made waves this week by announcing Kaepernick was a spokesperson for its latest “Just Do It” campaign despite Kaepernick remaining out of the NFL. The league’s season kicks off Thursday with Nike as its on-field provider for uniforms and apparel after signing an eight-year extension in the spring to keep the partnership intact through 2028.

The announcement from Nike came less than a week after the NFL was denied a motion to throw out Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the league. Kaepernick has alleged the NFL conspired to keep him out of the league since he began kneeling during the national anthem before games in August 2016. He hasn’t played since Jan. 1, 2017 and hasn’t received a contract offer from any team since.

Goodwin and Kaepernick vacationed together in Egypt in the summer of 2017, months after the 49ers’ new regime decided against bringing Kaepernick back. The quarterback turned down the option on his contract for the 2017 season to become a free agent. First-time general manager John Lynch said Kaepernick would have been released either way.

Kaepernick on Wednesday tweeted out a two-minute Nike commercial, writing: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing anything. #JustDoIt”

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Goodwin has been raising his fist during the national anthem since last season, his first in San Francisco, and said he plans to continue doing so.

The reason I do protest whenever I do, is because of things that have directly affected me in my life,” Goodwin said. “It’s just something that’s dear to me. As long as people around me respect it, and give me that opportunity like they have, never treated me any different, then I’ll continue to protest for people who don’t have a voice.”

Added defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who’s also endorsed by Nike but doesn’t protest during the anthem: “I thought it was pretty cool to see. Cool to see that Nike’s, I guess, supporting him in a way. It’s about social change and I think it’s pretty cool how Nike has that kind of culture to effect social change.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan has been preparing the 49ers for their season opener at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and said he didn’t have a reaction to Kaepernick’s endorsement deal.

“I don’t have a reaction to probably anything that’s happened on this planet in the last four days,” he said. “I apologize for that. That’ll continue for about six more months. Sorry.”

Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee highlights five players to watch in Sunday’s season opener when the 49ers travel to take on the Vikings, September 9, 2018.

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