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'Don't turn your back on racism': Nike ad shines light on race relations in America

The athletic wear company's ad comes following the death of George Floyd and amid violent, nationwide protests.

Nike released a new, simply-produced, socially conscious ad to its 112 million Instagram followers Friday, shining a light on racism in America. The ad comes amid violent protests across the country after George Floyd, a black man, died while in Minneapolis police custody. The white officer seen on video holding his knee to Floyd's neck has now been charged with murder.

The ad replaces Nike's standard "Just Do It" with a message that starts "For once, Don't Do it." Placed over somber music, the ad is simply white text over a black background -- with a clear message.

"For once, Don't Do It.

Don't pretend there's not a problem in America.

Don't turn your back on racism.

Don't accept innocent lives being taken from us.

Don't make any more excuses.

Don't think this doesn't affect you.

Don't sit back and be silent.

Don't think you can't be part of the change.

Let's all be part of the change."

This is not the first time Nike has taken a stance on social issues. It made news in 2018 with the surprise move of signing Colin Kaepernick to an endorsement deal. Kaepernick created controversy when he started kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games to protest racial injustice. He has not been on an NFL roster since 2016.

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Protests first erupted Tuesday, a day after Floyd's death in a confrontation with police captured on widely seen citizen video. On the video, Floyd can be seen pleading as Officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee against him. As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving.

Chauvin was fired. On Friday, he was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, including nearly three minutes after Floyd stopped moving and talking, a criminal complaint said.

An autopsy said the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death. It revealed nothing to support strangulation as the cause of death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.