US sportswear titan Nike has pulled the model of trainers featuring an early version of the US flag, the so-called Betsy Ross flag, off market shelves following a complaint from former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, WSJ reported. Kaepernick said he and others had found the shoe offensive because of its ties to America's era of slavery. Blow back to Nike's move did not take long.
"Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July shoe, as it featured an old version of the American flag," a Nike spokesperson said, prompting a severe backlash both on- and offline, with many blasting Kaepernick and Nike for an 'anti-American' spirit.
The Betsy Ross flag has been widely associated with the US right-wing faction, with many suggesting that it has become a symbol of white supremacists, while others hit back arguing that it simply indicates patriotism.
The newspaper suggested that Kaepernick had said that he and others had found the shoe offensive due to its ties to America's era of slavery.
Doug Ducey, Republican governor of Arizona, weighed in without delay, announcing that he had ordered financial incentives for Nike that would have injected investment into a multi-million dollar factory in the state's Goodyear City to be halted.
Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism. 5/— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) 2 июля 2019 г.
No less furious comments came in torrents from other Twitterians:
If Nike doesn't want to sell those Betsy Ross shoes, they should give them to a nice veterans charity... you know, a place that could not only use them, but stands up for the American flag.— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) 2 июля 2019 г.
I love America. I stand for the anthem, respect the flag & honor the men & women who fought to defend our Nation. I respect Free Speech & I’m exerting mine: until @Nike ends its contempt for those values, I WILL NO LONGER PURCHASE NIKE PRODUCTS. #WalkAwayFromNike RT if you agree. https://t.co/IvXNTgvlHq— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) 2 июля 2019 г.
However, there were those who reminded the raging crowd that the aforementioned flag represents the original 13 American colonies, “the nation building on the back of slavery.”
Oh lord. Do you ever get anything right? The flag is of the original 13 colonies. The flag is representative of our history of nation building on the back of slavery. Some white supremacists use it rather than the rebel flag to represent their ‘history’ - slaveholders.— LadyInTheDesert (@desertmonkey11) 2 июля 2019 г.
Speaking of Nike and the American Flag... A suspected white supremacist contractor showed up to the home of a Black family, with a Confederate Flag on the back of his truck...And the sista politely declined his serices and turned him away— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) 2 июля 2019 г.
Nike was barraged with criticism in late 2018 over its controversial promo campaign featuring Kaepernick, which, according to reports, had a negative effect on the iconic brand's appeal to investors. In 2016, Kaepernick, a star quarterback for the San Francisco Forty-Niners, stirred controversy when he began kneeling during the US national anthem prior to NFL games as a protest against racial injustice.