Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling has emerged as the next sports star to front Nike’s ongoing ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign following his comments on how young black footballers are portrayed by the media.
In an image that appeared across Nike’s social media channels, Sterling’s face is seen alongside the words: ‘Speaking up doesn't always make life easier. But easy never changed anything.’
It comes after Sterling – who had suffered alleged racist abuse by a number of Chelsea supporters during a match last week – commented on the how the negative portrayal of young black players by media could “fuel racism an [sic] aggressive behaviour.”
This ad from Nike follows the hugely successful Colin Kaepernick ad from earlier in the year. Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, divided public opinion when he kneeled during the national anthem at a game in the hopes of bringing attention to racial inequality.
The ad from agency Wieden & Kennedy featured the same close up shot of his face alongside the words: ‘Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything’.
Some have criticised Nike for meddling in politics, others praised its bravery for standing up for social injustices.
However, estimates have Nike earned somewhere in the region of $165m in media exposure while its share price hit a 52-week high within two weeks of the Kaepernick ad airing, adding approximately $6bn to the value of its brand.