Colin Kaepernick Helped Nike Realize That Their 4th Of July Sneaker Held Racist Undertones, GOP Governor Hits Co. In Pockets
Somebody get this man a job in diversity.
Colin Kaepernick had to help Nike realize that their early depiction of the American flag might not be such a good idea. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Nike pulled their 4th of July shoe after the former 49ers player brought to their attention that the flag might be offensive to those impacted by racism and slavery.
Nike designed a 4th of July shoe and was scheduled to release the Air Max 1 USA, featuring the Betsy Ross flag, for sale this week. The Betsy Ross flag is one of the early interpretations of the American flag. With 13 stars, representing the 13 colonies. The flag is from the Revolutionary-era. When Kaepernick saw the images of the design online, the Wall Street Journal reports he reached out to Nike and explained it was an offensive symbol to people of color as it represented a time of slavery.
While the flag is historical, it has also been used by White Nationalists and other extremist groups that are against diversity and inclusion. Kaepernick, an activist, became well-known in 2106 when he began kneeling on the field during the national anthem. In a press conference he explained, “I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” referencing law enforcements involvement in unlawful deaths around Black people.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nike asked retailers to return the product without any explanation after they had shipped it out for sales. Personally, I would be interested to know the retailers that actually purchased this shoe. It’s interesting to see that with Nike’s public stance in diversity and inclusion and being one of the corporations that has the highest diversity numbers, that something like this slipped through the cracks.
Fashion is often a platform to make political and social statements, but I’m sure that this wasn’t what they intended. Kaepernick declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal. While social media platforms like Twitter were ablaze with comments of people angry and in disbelief, even sparking a hashtag #NoNike, they are also feeling it in their pockets.
Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey, a Republican, announced that he’s pulling Nike state ad over the Betsy Ross flag controversy. He announced that he “ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate [to Arizona].” America is currently racially charged and this move speaks volumes.
What do you think? Was Nike right? What about the Arizona Governor? Talk to us in the comments.