BOSTON (CBS) – Nike has unveiled its new ad with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. It features athletes at the top of their game who overcame incredible odds to get there. While Kaepernick is now out of the game, reaction to the protest he sparked is as divided as ever.
“I believe strongly before that he was in the right to protest and I think he’s heroic for it honestly,” said Boston resident Noah Milan.
“I thought it was wrong,” said Mike Cocco of New Jersey. “I thought there was a lot of other things that Nike could have done to promote awareness for certain things.”
Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign features Colin Kaepernick, despite the former quarterback not playing for two seasons, around the same time he began kneeling during the national anthem.
“I’ve coached sports myself and I wouldn’t allow someone to kneel or sit,” Cocco said.
To some, taking a knee is disrespectful, to others a peaceful protest of racial injustice.
Boston Police officer Larry Ellison believes no matter your stance — it must be respected.
“I don’t always agree with people’s behavior but I think in this country, if we start chipping away at people’s freedoms because we don’t like them and as being a person of color I understand that, people have a right to be free to speak,” Ellison said.
A Facebook post from Sutton Police Department featuring a picture of fallen Weymouth Sgt. Michael Chesna is also up for interpretation. Under the photo, it says “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The same slogan from the Nike campaign.
“I think that somehow the impression was that [Kaepernick] was being disrespectful to the officers and I think if anything it expresses why this officer gave his life,” Ellison said. “Protecting people’s freedom.”
WBZ reached out to the Sutton Police Department but they declined comment until Friday.