Nike to air first Colin Kaepernick ad during Thursday's NFL opener

The first commercial for the much-discussed 30th anniversary Nike campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick is ready for rollout, and will air during Thursday night’s NFL regular-season kickoff game.

‘Just Do It’

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the new ad features several prominent athletes who have partnered with Nike, including Serena Williams, LeBron James and Odell Beckham Jr., as well as non-professional athletes who have overcome long odds or bucked tradition.

Kaepernick narrates the commercial, and it’s revealed at the end that it’s his voice we’ve heard.

Here’s the full ad, which Kaepernick posted on social media:

Is Nike hurting relationship with NFL?

One of the big questions as it pertains to Nike and Kaepernick is how the brand would handle things with the NFL, and whether it would air ads during NFL games. There was also a question of whether the league would block such ads; it has stepped in before to block certain Super Bowl ads, and earlier this year, the league declined an advertisement for the Super Bowl program, saying it goes against the desire to keep things apolitical.

But now that the news is out that Nike is planning to run an ad featuring Kaepernick during the NFL’s now-signature kickoff event, this year featuring the reigning Super Bowl champion Eagles hosting the Falcons, the league would likely take a big hit by not letting it air.

Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign. (AP)
Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign. (AP)

Earlier this year, Nike and the league extended their agreement for Nike to produce the league’s uniforms.

The eight-year contract begins after the current one ends in 2020.

“The NFL and Nike are a powerful combination and we anticipate working closely with them on several programs, including youth and player initiatives,” NFL media and business officer Brian Rolapp said at the time.

But that was before Nike decided to make Kaepernick the centerpiece of its new campaign.

Kaepernick has filed suit against the NFL, alleging that owners colluded to keep him out of the league, and last week an arbitrator denied the NFL’s dismissal attempt, meaning the case will move forward.

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