Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains out of the NFL, but football fans will be able to see him during Thursday's season opener between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles.
The New York Times' Kevin Draper reported Wednesday that Nike purchased airtime on the broadcast to run an ad, titled "Dream Crazy," that includes Kaepernick.
Nike spokesman Josh Benedek also told Draper the ad will air during coverage of MLB and college football games and the U.S. Open.
Nike released the ad two days after Kaepernick shared a picture of himself as part of the company's "Just Do It" campaign:
The image was featured on a billboard in downtown San Francisco:
According to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, Nike maintained its endorsement deal with Kaepernick since first signing him in 2011. Gino Fisanotti, Nike's vice president of brand for North America, told Rovell that Kaepernick's social advocacy played a role in the company's decision to feature him more prominently.
"We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward," Fisanotti said. "We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce 'Just Do It' to a new generation of athletes.
Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson reported Kaepernick's contract includes a signature line of apparel and is worth "millions per year plus royalties." Rovell refuted the report about Kaepernick's merchandise deal, but Robinson answered back to say "there is absolutely a contract commitment by @nike for a signature shoe and 'Kaepernick 7' line of apparel."
Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL in October 2017, alleging the league and its team owners have worked in concert to keep him from continuing his playing career. An arbitrator last week declined the NFL's motion to dismiss the case, thus allowing the grievance to continue to a hearing.