The American sportswear giant Nike has moved swiftly to launch a campaign that positions Raheem Sterling similar to the way it did the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, following the Manchester City man's outspoken analysis of the media's portrayal of young black footballers.

Hours after Sterling had come on as a substitute to score his side's third goal in a 3-1 win over Everton, Nike released a social media advert featuring Sterling that followed the theme of a successful campaign around Kaepernick in September.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback began a league-wide movement by kneeling during pre-match national anthems in protest against the shooting of young black men by police officers in the United States.

Nike's Sterling commercial was accompanied by the strapline: "Speaking up doesn't always make like easier. But easy never changed anything."


Sterling's Instagram post last Sunday prompted a week of reflection in the British media and beyond about the portrayal of young wealthy footballers. He drew attention to the difference in coverage between a young white player buying his parents a house, and the equivalent story for a young black player.

Sterling made the post in the wake of allegations that he was subject to racist abuse from Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge the previous week, saying that the media's portrayal of black footballers helped to "fuel racism and aggressive behaviour".

Earlier this year Nike launched a campaign fronted by Kaepernick with the strapline: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing something". Kaepernick has not been contracted to an NFL team since his last deal at the 49ers expired.

The move was viewed by some as a risk, coming from a temperamentally conservative US company that has always put profits first. Nevertheless, on this occasion, standing up to conservative America, and the views of US president Donald Trump served Nike well commercially, with a surge in its share price.