Game Changers: In light of Nike campaign with Colin Kaepernick, influence means nothing without having good intent

Game Changers: In light of Nike campaign with Colin Kaepernick, influence means nothing without having good intent

Caleb Shaffer

There are many powerful people in today’s society. The common denominator among these people is that they usually have a pretty measurable amount of influence. If people of influence have something to say or an agenda to push forward, they will usually gain the support of the public.

I have seen firsthand what the power of influence can do not only to individuals but also to society as a whole. As a black male and student athlete, I’ve been around many people who possess  a lot of influence. Being around these people has taught me to properly lead and responsibly influence others, and I have used those lessons in teams I’m a part of.

Influence in today’s society is apparent, with NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality. This movement was spurred by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. This is an issue that is heavily debated not only nationwide but also in this very school.

Despite how students feel about this topic, there is a silver lining: the players used their influence to forward a cause. Whether the athletes, business owners or celebrities realize it, they have millions of men, women and children who respect them and value what they have to say. Whether people are upset about how the NFL players handle their protests or not, they deserve to be respected for making the choice to use their influence, as similar movements have been transformative across the world.

Kaepernick recently made headlines as the face of one of Nike’s campaigns, used to support Kaepernick in light of the national anthem protests throughout the NFL. The campaign was met with both support and opposition from the public. I support Nike’s decision to launch the campaign and Kaepernick for using his influence to support this issue.

In the end, influence is only as powerful as the influencer chooses to make it. There are many powerful people and groups in this life who use their influence to push for the benefit of themselves and others. Some of the readers may find themselves in highly influential positions a few years from now and all I want to do is encourage you to use the influence you possess to better the lives of others, because at the end of the day, that’s what influence should really be about: helping others.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Caleb Shaffer at [email protected]

Read managing editor Heidi Peng’s column about the influence of music artists here: