The NFL issued a statement on social justice Tuesday after former NFL player Colin Kaepernick received a new deal with Nike, becoming one of the faces of the company’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” marketing campaign.
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications and public affairs, said, according to NFL media insider Ian Rapoport.
“The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
Moore’s statement was accompanied by a detailed breakdown of ways players and league executives have attempted to address social issues.
It came days after an arbitrator denied the league’s request to throw out a grievance filed by Kaepernick last fall. Kaepernick claims the NFL’s owners have conspired to keep him out of the league.
Kaepernick, who was the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback in the Super Bowl following the 2011 season, started a movement when he refused to stand for the national anthem before games during the 2016 season. He opted out of his contract with the 49ers the following offseason and has not landed with another team.
On Monday, Kaepernick tweeted out a Nike ad that featured a close-up of his face with these words superimposed over it: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick already had a deal with Nike that was set to expire. The new one is expected to feature Kaepernick on billboards, TV commercials and online ads. He is also expected to get his own apparel line.