Benghazi Hero Featured in 'Just Do It' Photo That Nike Wants Nothing To Do With


The athletic apparel giant Nike got plenty of publicity when it relaunched its longstanding “Just Do It” ad campaign last week, but it picked arguably the worst messenger to deliver the otherwise inspiring message.

Nike has caught quite a bit of flak after it was revealed that controversial ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who is responsible for starting the trend of anti-American protests of the American flag and national anthem prior to the start of NFL games — would be the featured face of the newest iteration of the “Just Do It” campaign.

While the announcement gave rise to a conservative boycott of Nike and compelled some customers to burn or trash their Nike gear, it also opened the door for the creation of satirical or parody memes making fun of the ad campaign, specifically the Nike campaign’s theme — “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” — being superimposed on the face of a man who is a millionaire many, many times over.

One of those anti-Nike memes featured one of the heroes of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead … a hero who truly understands what it means to “sacrifice everything” for something you believe in.

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That hero of Benghazi was none other than Kris “Tanto” Paronto, a former U.S. Army Ranger turned private security contractor who survived that fateful night in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

While politicians back home slept or prepared the excuses they’d rely on for weeks and months to come after the attack, Paronto and others fended off waves of assaults by determined terrorists using automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars on a U.S. diplomatic compound and a CIA annex in the Libyan port city, without receiving any additional support from military and political leaders based in Washington.

The caption on the meme read: “Just do it??? I already DID it.”

“I held down the fort in Benghazi, after Obama and Hillary rolled over in their silk sheets and hit the snooze button,” the caption continued. “I didn’t get any kid’s sneaker contract either. I was wearing my military boots.

“I roll for one ‘brand’ only — the U.S. flag,” the meme concluded, with an American flag followed by the words “Did it” at the bottom of the photo of Paronto holding his rifle pointed down with his finger safely off the trigger.

It is unclear who exactly created this meme. The odds are good that it wasn’t Paronto, but somebody who greatly appreciated the sacrifice made by him and his brothers in arms in Benghazi.

(Check out Paronto’s own description of that night in this lengthy interview from 2015 with Omaha state KETV.)

Paronto’s tale is one of true bravery and sacrifice in the face of existential risk and seemingly insurmountable odds, and provides an excellent counter to the laughable “sacrifice” and “bravery” purportedly exhibited by Kaepernick, a coddled multi-millionaire football star who didn’t start protesting until his career was on the downslope in 2016 — the same year he lost his starting role with the San Francisco 49ers.

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Kaepernick, and those who followed his lead and knelt or sat for the playing of the anthem, may have truly had various social injustices in mind when they conducted their protests, such as persistent racial disparities in some parts of society and instances of abuse by law enforcement against minorities. But those problems have been blown far out of proportion by the liberal media and race-baiters who thrive on conflict and controversy.

Whatever good there may have been in the original message has been absolutely lost in the delivery as the protesters’ behavior largely came across as a protest against the country itself, the American flag and all of the men and women who have fought, bled and died on behalf of the flag and the nation it represents.

Nike and the NFL won’t want to even see this meme, much less spend any time dwelling on it, as it lays bare the true disparity between those who’ve actually been brave and sacrificed part of themselves on behalf of the nation as opposed to men who get paid millions of dollars to play a game — and still claim to be oppressed.

Unfortunately for them, a majority of the country hold the men and women of law enforcement and the military in much higher regard than highly paid athletes, as memes like the one above make abundantly clear.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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