by G. Brown
You got big plans for the 4th Celebration? Nike doesn’t…at least not anymore.
Nike was planning to release a new version of its Air Max 1 Quick Strike emblazoned with the original version of the American flag to tie in with the celebration of July 4th. That particular flag is the one with 13 stars in a circle– you learned about it in history class along with Betsy Ross who’s credited with designing and sewing it.
Kaepernick did see not patriotism or historic lore when images of the shoes were posted online…he saw a symbol of slavery. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Nike is yanking a sneaker featuring the “Betsey Ross flag” after Colin Kaepernick said he and others consider the symbol to be offensive...”
Nike apparently agreed with Kaep’s argument and decided to kick the shoes to curb and asked retailers to send back the flag shoes. The sneaker giant says it will instead update “the legendary design with patriotic colors”.
Why would Nike listen to Kaepernick? Well, he’s been one of their sponsored athletes since 2011 and just last year Kaep was featured in Nike’s ad campaign. Also, why wouldn’t Nike listen to the one athlete who has unashamedly stood for equality even at the detriment of his own career?
It’s sound logic, right? Not to some on Twitter who were outraged that Nike pulled the shoe…
The so-called Betsy Ross flag has become affiliated with far-right and White supremacist groups which have claimed that particular design as the symbol of their cause. That ’cause’ of course is racism. Nike’s decision wasn’t so much politically correct but it was simply correct, the right thing to do. Nike isn’t pandering to Kaep as people are screaming on social media, the company made a decision in step with their policies and beliefs. The company didn’t cave to Kaep’s wishes since he was one of several people to speak out on the use of the flag.
Nike is quickly discovering that following in Kaep’s footsteps is a hard path, Push back is hitting the shoe giant as hard as it hit the former quarterback when he started taking a knee in protest of racial inequality during the National Anthem at games. Arizona’s Governor is canceling plans to issue state aid to build a new plant because of its decision to pull the Betsy Ross shoe.
And no doubt we’ll see plenty of flag-waving videos, gifs, memes, and posts of people setting Nike gear on fire or using them as fireworks somehow for the fourth because they think this is their patriotic duty. Flying a flag, hugging a flag or posting them all over your Twitter feed doesn’t make you any more patriotic than the person who doesn’t.
Boycotting, criticizing and denouncing a company or a person for excising their constitutional right when they make a decision you don’t agree with isn’t patriotic. Allowing them the freedom to voice their opinion—that is true patriotism.
Happy Fourth of July everyone!