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Taya Kyle, Widow of American Sniper, to Nike: ‘You Exhaust My Spirit’

Chris Kyle, Colin Kaepernick
Getty/AP Images
KRISTINA WONG

Taya Kyle, widow of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, whose life was memorialized in the movie American Sniper, had a message for Nike on its latest ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick: “You exhaust my spirit on this one.”

Nike is drawing flak from conservatives and others for its newest “Just Do It” ad campaign featuring the former 49ers quarterback, who famously refused to stand for the American flag during the national anthem, with the text: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Kyle lost her husband — a famed Navy SEAL sniper for his number of enemy kills and protecting other troops on the battlefield — in 2013 after he was killed by a former Marine he had planned to take shooting as part of his volunteer work to help veterans.

Kyle, in a Facebook post on Tuesday, wrote: “Nike, I love your gear, but you exhaust my spirit on this one.” She questioned exactly what Kaepernick was “sacrificing,” when he was likely receiving a lucrative Nike contract.

She wrote:

Your new ad with Colin Kapernick, I get the message, but that sacrificing everything thing…. It just doesn’t play out here. Sacrificing what exactly? A career? I’ve done that both times I chose to stay home and be with my kids instead of continuing my business climb… and it wasn’t sacrificing everything. It was sacrificing one career and some money and it was because of what I believe in and more importantly, who I believe in.

At best, that is all Colin sacrificed… some money and it’s debatable if he really lost his career over it. Maybe he sacrificed the respect of some people while he gained the respect of others. Or maybe he used one career to springboard himself into a different career when the first was waning. I don’t know. What I do know is, he gained popularity and magazine covers he likely wouldn’t have gotten without getting on his knees or as you say, “believing in something.” I’m also thinking the irony is that while I am not privy to the numbers, it’s likely he gained a lucrative Nike contract. So yeah… that whole “sacrificing everything” is insulting to those who really have sacrificed everything.

You want to talk about someone in the NFL sacrificing everything? Pat Tillman. NFL STARTING, not benched, player who left to join the Army and died for it. THAT is sacrificing everything for something you believe in.

How about other warriors? Warriors who will not be on magazine covers, who will not get lucrative contracts and millions of followers from their actions and who have truly sacrificed everything. They did it because they believed in something. Take it from me, when I say they sacrificed everything, they also sacrificed the lives of their loved ones who will never be the same. THAT is sacrificing everything for something they believe in.

Did you get us talking? Yeah, you did. But, your brand recognition was strong enough. Did you teach the next generation of consumers about true grit? Not that I can see.

Taking a stand, or rather a knee, against the flag which has covered the caskets of so many who actually did sacrifice everything for something they believe in, that we all believe in? Well, the irony of your ad..it almost leaves me speechless. Were you trying to be insulting?

Maybe you are banking on the fact we won’t take the time to see your lack of judgement in using words that just don’t fit. Maybe you are also banking on us not seeing Nike as kneeling before the flag. Or maybe you want us to see you exactly that way. I don’t know. All I know is, I was actually in the market for some new kicks and at least for now, I’ve never been more grateful for Under Armour.

 

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