When Nike kicked off its “Dream Crazy” campaign with a spot featuring Colin Kaepernick, it spurred both conversation and controversy. Locally, Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn attempted to ban city-funded recreational groups from using Nike products (an effort that resulted in a national backlash and was ultimately withdrawn).
Yesterday, Nike debuted its follow-up ad, “Dream Crazier.” The new spot, narrated by Serena Williams, not only touts the accomplishments of female athletes, but attempts to spark a conversation about how female athletes are treated in the media, online, and in normal conversation.
“If we show emotion, we’re called ‘dramatic,'” the ad begins.
“If we want to play against men, we’re nuts,” Williams continues, while footage of Sam Gordan, the 13-year-old running back from Salt Lake City plays. Gordon was the first female football player to be featured on a Wheaties box, and in her 2012 season achieved 25 touchdowns and 10 extra point conversions while averaging 8.2 yards per carry. On defense, she recorded 65 tackles for that season.
Other featured athletes in the spot include Simone Biles, Chloe Kim, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, and Ibtihaj Muhammad.
At the end of the ad, Williams references her own controversy, in which she was fined $17,000 for violations during the women’s singles final. In one incident she called the umpire “thief” for what she felt was a bad call, and the umpire took the game.
“For me to say ‘thief,’ and for (the umpire) to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark,” Williams said later. “He’s never took a game from a man because they say ‘thief.’ For me, it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal (rights).”
“So if they wanna call you crazy?” Williams narrates in the Nike ad. “Fine. Show them what crazy can do.”
Jenn Bentley is a writer whose work has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.