That September, Kaepernick participated in a multimedia ad campaign for Nike. On September 3, Nike released a photographic still with a close-up of Kaepernick’s face accompanied by the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick also tweeted the photo himself, quoting the phrase from the ad in his caption followed by Nike’s famous tagline #JustDoIt. Nike shares reportedly dropped 3.2 percent and #NikeBoycott started trending on Twitter amidst the ad’s release.
On September 9, Nike released a video ad featuring Kaepernick and other athletes from around the world, including tennis star Serena Williams and Canadian soccer player Alphonso Davies. The ad, narrated by Kaepernick, highlighted athletes who had overcome extreme odds, and ended with Kaeprnick saying, “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.”
Kaepernick had tweeted the video a few days earlier, on September 5, with the same adage from the original still ad, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Along with the #NikeBoycott hashtag trending, social media users also posted photos and videos of themselves burning and throwing away Nike product. One user captioned a video of burning his Nike shoes with, “First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. … Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?” He said of Nike in the video, “You’re gonna go ahead and say, ‘Hey! Buy our shoes, we stand with people who kneel during the national anthem.’ Well. Sorry Nike. I’ve been buying you for the past 20 plus years. Not anymore. Not only am I burning my favorite pair of Nikes, you’re burning your sales.”
Country music artist John Rich tweeted, “Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former Marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by millions.”
A spokesperson for the NFL, Jocelyn Moore, said in response to the ad, "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. The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action."
Gino Fisanotti, Vice President of Nike, said in a statement, “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward.”
The “Dream Crazy” video ad won a “Creative Arts” Emmy for best commercial a year later in 2019, and, despite outrage from former Nike fans, Nike sales actually increased 31 percent following their collaboration with Kaepernick.