Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, is considering severing the school’s ties with Nike after the controversial ad featuring football player Colin Kaepernick, according to USA Today.
If he goes through with it, Liberty would be the second Christian school to cut ties to Nike this week as well as the second Christian school to completely misunderstand what Kaepernick is protesting.
“We’re exploring the situation,” Falwell said. “If Nike really does believe that law enforcement in this country is unfair and biased, I think we will look around. If we have a contract, we’ll honor it, but we strongly support law enforcement and strongly support our military and veterans who died to protect our freedoms and if the company really believes what Colin Kaepernick believes, it’s going to be hard for us to keep doing business with them.
“But if it’s just a publicity stunt to bring attention to Nike or whatever, that’s different. We understand that. We understand how marketing works. But they’re going to have to convince us that they’re not proactively attacking law enforcement officers and our military. If that’s the reason behind using this ad, we’re going to have a hard time staying.”
That’s a very dignified way of saying, “We don’t understand Kaepernick’s stance against systemic racism.” That’s what taking a knee is really about. That’s what it has always been about. Not the flag. Not the National Anthem. And definitely not the service of those in the military.
The internet is full of explanations about this, so Falwell, per usual, is choosing to remain ignorant. (The school is currently locked into a contract with Nike through 2024.)
But considering that Nike has a history of unsavory practices that fly in the face of social justice, Falwell can rest assured that Kaepernick, like so many other athletes, is part of a (successful) marketing campaign that assumes his stance against racism is better for business than the misguided opinions of people like Falwell.