Nike pulls Independence Day-themed shoe after Colin Kaepernick calls them racist
Nike pulls Independence Day-themed shoe after Colin Kaepernick calls them racist
Nike canceled a Betsy Ross flag sneaker after Colin Kaepernick said he found it offensive. Getty Images Shutterstock
03 July, 2019, 02:10
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reportedNike yanked the $140 shoes, which included the Revolutionary Era 13-star American flag on the heel, after Kaepernick, the former National Football League quarterback turned activist and Nike pitchman, complained the flag is associated with slavery times.
Kaepernick was said to have contacted the company and explained to them he and others were offended because the flag had a connection to an era associated with slavery.
The company pulled a flag-themed sneaker featuring the "Betsy Ross flag".
The immediate outrage over the shoe design echos the vocal response from a subset of Nike consumers in September, when Nike featured Kaepernick in an ad with the slogan, "Believe in something".
Nike removed the shoe from its website and told stores to return it without offering an explanation, the Journalreported.
Nike had planned on releasing a special patriotic version of its Air Max 1 shoe, which featured the famed "Betsy Ross" version of the US flag.
Nike is showing consistency by listening to Kaepernick, the star of the brand's "Just Do It" campaign previous year that ultimately proved a win for the company, said Chris Allieri, founder of NY public relations firm Mulberry & Astor. The company stopped selling some products in China after a fashion designer's support for protests in Hong Kong sparked a social media backlash.
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Nike is a company proud of its American heritage and our continuing engagement supporting thousands of American athletes including the US Olympic team and US Soccer teams.
"Arizona's economy is doing just fine without Nike", he said.
Kaepernick, a former NFL player who stirred controversy in 2016 by kneeling during a pre-match national anthem, teamed up with Nike previous year to become the face of a new campaign that harnessed his credentials as a protester, rather than a sportsman.
Nike's attempt to release a patriotic sneaker was squashed after Colin Kaepernick pointed out that the connotations of the design weren't as patriotic as they were racist. During that season, he sat and then knelt during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. In 2016, then-candidate Trump's supporters displayed it alongside "Make America Great Again" banners at a high school football game, leading a MI school superintendent to apologize to anyone who was offended.
It makes sense that this historic image could easily become a symbol of white nationalism, as it represents a time when African Americans were not fully recognized as citizens.
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