Kaepernick Says America Exploits “Black And Brown Bodies” As He Profits From Sweatshops

Screenshot from Nike Sweatshops: Behind the Swoosh

In a series of tweets this weekend, ex-quarterback Colin Kaeppernick condemned predatory behavior. However, that doesn’t stop him from profiting off it.

Kaeppernick was reacting to the death of Iranian Quds Force leader, Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed last week in a US airstrike as he was about to leave the Baghdad airport.

The State Department has blamed Soleimani for orchestrating violence in multiple countries, as well as for killing over six hundred American soldiers. Still, Kaepernick called taking him out an act of terrorism.

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“There is nothing new about American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism,” he tweeted on Saturday.

“America has always sanctioned and besieged Black and Brown bodies both at home and abroad,” Kaeppernick continued. “America militarism is the weapon wielded by American imperialism, to enforce its policing and plundering of the non white world.”

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Those are curious allegations; after all, if Kaeppernick feels bad about the “plundering” of other people, then he may want to look at his business partner.

The former 49er has a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike, a company that has long been accused of exploiting workers in poor countries.

A World Bank report back in 2003 found that the shoe giant violated Vietnamese environmental and labor laws by exposing people to dangerous chemicals while regularly forcing employees to work between seventy and eighty hours a week.

More recently, a 2016 report produced by the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) on a Vietnamese plant uncovered "dozens of health and safety violations." Among them were "forced overtime," "denial of sick leave," and "unsafe spraying of toxic solvents." It also found a "chronic problem of workers collapsing due to heat and overwork."

In April of 2018, Hojeon Limited--a Korean company that Nike used as a supplier--was caught cheating its Indonesian workers out of $4.5 million.

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According to a letter from the WRC, "Nike was not willing, at that time, to ask Hojeon to pay the workers." Nike only did so two months later after Fanatics, Gap, and Under Armour also began to apply pressure.

One person that Nike will make sure gets paid is Collin Kaepernick: their endorsement deal with him is worth millions. How much of it comes from the sweat of "besieged Black and Brown bodies" is anybody's guess.

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