The ad led to Colin Kaepernick trending on Twitter during Sunday night’s Super Bowl.
During the Super Bowl, the NFL aired an ad called “Inspire Change,” which showed NFL players wearing helmets adorned with the names of victims of police brutality, including Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and Eric Garner, as well as photos and videos of protesters and NFL athletes taking a knee, a form of protest popularized by Colin Kaepernick.
“The NFL is committing $250 million to help end systemic racism,” text reads toward the end of the commercial. “While the season is over, our fight for social justice is not.”
The ad has since faced criticism for its omission of Kaepernick, who is nowhere to be found in the video. Although its Kaepernick who, throughout 2016 and 2017, protested against police brutality by taking a knee during the anthem, which resulted in the rise of other athletes trying to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice (and where the NFL is today in regards to committing to social justice issues), he’s nowhere to be found in the commercial.
Amid its airing, people took to social media to criticize the ad and how it fails to acknowledge Kaepernick for his contributions.
In that Inspire Change commercial, the NFL forgot to show the part where they blackballed Colin Kaepernick, have only 3 black NFL head coaches and no majority black ownership.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 8, 2021
NFL Black Lives Matter commercial showing players kneeling without acknowledging Kaepernick is revisionist posturing happing in real time.
— Nana Kwame (@NK_Adjei) February 8, 2021
a reminder that colin kaepernick is still unemployed by the same nfl that is now showcasing social justice all day at the #SuperBowl.
— Andrew Boozary MD (@drandrewb) February 7, 2021
Don’t forget that the NFL has systematically villainized Colin Kaepernick because he *knelt* to protest racial injustice, police brutality, and anti-Blackness.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) February 7, 2021
Even Mariah Carey seemed to shade the NFL for its commercial, taking to Twitter to write: “Happy Colin KAepernick Appreciation Day!”
Happy Colin Kaepernick Appreciation Day!
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) February 8, 2021
In related news, Snapshat premiered its documentary series on Kaepernick — Colin Kaepernick Vs the World — during Super Bowl weekend. The docuseries explores his early life, his rise as a NFL quarterback, and his impact as an activist.