COMMENT: Protesting Colin Kaepernick by burning your own shoes is peak patriotism 1 year ago

COMMENT: Protesting Colin Kaepernick by burning your own shoes is peak patriotism

Brave soles.

On Monday afternoon, Colin Kaepernick was unveiled as one of the faces of Nike's new advertising campaign, commemorating the 30th anniversary of their iconic 'Just Do It' motto. A close-up of the former NFL quarterback's face is used in monochrome, with the slogan "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

I personally found it very powerful and moving. Kaepernick has after all sacrificed so much in terms of his professional career and personal wealth to stick by his principles and continue protesting racial injustice. This has made him a pariah in his own sport, and a target for those who see such expressions of disenfranchisement as un-American.

Sadly for me and fellow snowflakes prone to overreacting whenever we disagree with something, the Kaepernick announcement has been overshadowed by proud American patriots behaving in the very rational and sensible way of destroying their own property and burning all their favourite sneakers to smouldering ash.

Now I certainly don't share their political views, or indeed their opinions on Kaepernick, but I can't help but admire the passion and steely resolve with which they've gathered up various Nike products of their own procurement and set them ablaze for social media. The stark symbolism and iconic significance of their actions really does hit home.

A mob of angry white men setting fire to something they love to express their anger at a black man is a powerful visual, and certainly doesn't have any historical connotations that would suggest a racial element to their chagrin. Nor is being so hateful of newly shipped additions that you literally want to send the buggers back a problematic metaphor. At all...


There is something incredibly dignified and self-aware about someone taking to social media to publicly protest the fact that someone has the unpatriotic cheek to publicly protest something. It doesn't mean that these people hate sportswear as a whole - rather they love sportswear so much that they are willing to perform an act of self-sacrifice for its ultimate betterment.

Maybe Kaepernick and his ilk could learn a thing or two from that.

It is also heartening to see how these valiant arsonists are immolating their apparel. My favourite is probably the 'scorched earth' approach of setting fire to both footwear and foliage. Nothing symbolises the alt-right cause more than happily destroying your own land and stunting growth by needlessly inflaming grass roots. It is heroically meta.

Of course an alternative form of affirmative action to simply cutting Nike's famous swoosh out of your garments. Because if history has taught us anything, it's that you can simply target and remove a part of your fabric to suddenly make everything okay. Never mind the fact your socks won't stay up and your right nipple is hanging out - that's the price you pay.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that as much as I support Kaepernick and what he stands for, there is something very admirable about the considered and nuanced way in which these brave defenders of free speech and freedom in general are attempting to stop a sports manufacturer from freely advertising their wares in a free market.

To paraphrase an old saying: I may disapprove of you burning your own shoes, but I will defend to the death your right to choke on the fumes. Please, just do it.