Nike just debuted a new video to promote its BETRUE collection, starring a cast of LBGTQ+ athletes and allies from its roster. The clip opens with a shot of Chris Mosier, the first transgender person to star in a Nike ad, which ran back in 2016. “Every winner knows victory doesn’t happen alone,” he say in the voiceover. “But none of us can truly win until the rules are the same for everyone.”
These words are interspersed with images of Mosier—who’s also the first trans man to make the U.S. national team–along with other Nike runners, basketball players, skaters, and soccer players. All told, there are 12 people featured. From the WNBA, there’s the Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird, Jewell Lloyd, and Jordin Canada, plus Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury. Skaters Elissa Steamer, Eric Koston, and Fernando Bramsmark bomb hills and pose together at the lip of a bowl. Alongside Mosier, there are runners Scout Bassett, Caster Semenya, and Kerron Clement. Rounding things out is Mark McKenzie of the Major League Soccer team the Philadelphia Union.
“None of us can reach our full potential until we recognize each others’ greatness,” continues Mosier. “And the playing field won’t be level until all of us are equal. So when we win, it won’t be by ourselves.” It’s a direct and stirring call for LGBTQIA+ equality that dovetails with Nike’s longstanding “Just Do It” mentality.
And, yes, it’s an ad. But as we’ve seen time and again recently, ads like this are capable of making a contribution to the ongoing cultural conversation. Sometimes, that means setting off “just do sports” types in the comments section. But the flip side of that is placing previously marginalized people and communities in the spotlight and celebrating their achievements in a very public forum. It’s a relatively simple thing, at the heart of it. And it’s something we should all be able to get behind.