Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended Colin Kaepernick Monday amid the former NFL quarterback's controversial role in a new Nike commercial.
“The #NFL season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster,” Ahmadinejad tweeted.
“The philosophy and spirit of sports is bringing people together, not causing more conflicts,” Ahmadinejad wrote. “Politics must support the spirit of sports not destroy it.”
Kaepernick, formerly with the San Francisco 49ers, gained national prominence with his kneeling protests during the national anthem, a form of activism that has been taken up by athletes across the league.
He has since filed a lawsuit against the NFL’s league owners, alleging that they colluded to keep him from being signed to a new team amid the controversy. A arbitrator ruled that Kaepernick’s case would go to trial last week.
Nike made Kaepernick the face of its new “Just Do It” ad that aired Monday, which stated, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
ESPN reported that Nike signed an endorsement deal with Kaepernick in 2011 and has been paying him since.
Though the former Iranian president lauded Nike’s move, it has not been well received by everyone.
Some people have destroyed their Nike products or remove Nike’s logo in protest of the company’s decision. And a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last Friday showed that a majority of respondents disapprove of kneeling during the national anthem.
Cruz in a tweet slammed Ahmadinejad, Nike and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), his opponent in November's midterm elections, who says he supports the protest.
When a radical anti-Semite, anti-American Iranian dictator emphatically agrees with you, maybe that’s a sign that Beto, the NFL, and Nike are all on the wrong side of the American people.... https://t.co/7MYcLfIsBz— Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMore than 10,000 migrants await processing under bridge in Texas Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails MORE (@tedcruz) September 4, 2018