Colin Kaepernick‘s 2018 Nike ad titled “Dream Crazy” won for outstanding commercial at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sunday.
Kaepernick narrated and starred in the ad, which surrounds the idea of overcoming challenges and others’ belief that your dream is unrealistic.
“If you’re a girl from Compton, don’t just become a tennis player. Become the greatest athlete ever,” he said in the ad, mentioning Serena Williams, who learned to play tennis with her sister Venus Williams on the courts of Compton, California, where they grew up.
Kaepernick mentions LeBron James too and encourages others to not just be “the best basketball player on the planet,” but to be bigger than your sport. The ad then shows James at his I Promise School that he started in 2017 in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, for at-risk students.
But the part of the ad that seemed to get the most attention is Kaepernick acknowledging that he hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016 season.
The 31-year-old began kneeling for the national anthem before games back then to protest systematic racism. And after he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers, he wasn’t picked up by another squad.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” said Kaepernick in the spot. “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if they’re crazy enough.”
After it ran, major backlash ensued, and many were angry at Nike for working with the quarterback. College of the Ozarks, for example, in Point Lookout, Missouri, said its teams would no longer wear uniforms with the Nike logo.
And then mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, Ben Zahn, ordered the town’s recreation department and booster clubs not to wear or buy any more Nike products due to the ad. Some burned their Nike products as well.
But despite the backlash, Nike’s stock price reached an all-time high after the ad aired, and many looked at Kaepernick as even more of a hero for protesting. Nike was praised for the spot as well.
According to TMZ, Kaepernick is extremely proud of the award because he was hands-on in the ad’s creative process.