NIKE has pulled a patriotic-themed sneaker featuring the ‘betsy ross flag’ after ex-NFL star colin kaepernick raised concerns of it being offensive. the red, white and blue version of its air max 1 sneakers, which were meant to celebrate july fourth, have caused controversy because of the symbols’ connections with the era of slavery and modern-day extremists.
the ‘betsy ross flag’ is an earlier design of the american flag that features 13 white stars in a circle, representing the 13 original colonies. kaepernick raised concerns because the original 13 states were founded during a period of slavery. the flag has since been embraced by white nationalists and the american nazi party.
NIKE’s patriotic-themed air max 1 sneakers
image © NIKE
‘NIKE has chosen not to release the air max 1 quick strike fourth of july as it featured the old version of the american flag,’ a spokeswoman told the wall street journal. conservatives in the US have criticized the move. josh hawley, a fellow republican senator from missouri, called NIKE ‘anti-american, pure and simple’.
the ‘betsy ross’ flag
in response to the report, doug ducey, arizona’s republican governor, called ross a ‘founding mother’ of the US. he tweeted: ‘words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for NIKE.’
1920 depiction by artist jean leon gerome ferris of ross showing gen. george washington (seated, left), robert morris and george ross how she cut the revised five-pointed stars for the flag,
image courtesy of united states library of congress’s prints and photographs division
the journal reported that the shoes had shipped to retailers, but NIKE asked them to be returned. some of the shoes have since appeared on the re-sale website stockx for more than $2,000.
kaepernick ignited a nationwide controversy in 2016 and has not played in the NFL since. he began kneeling during the us national anthem to call attention to social injustice and racial inequality. kaepernick settled a grievance case earlier this year, which alleged the league had colluded against him and a fellow player for their political views.
NIKE’s 2018 advertising campaign featuring colin kaepernick
image © NIKE
last year NIKE unveiled an advertising campaign that put kaepernick’s activism front and center, and featured the slogan: ‘believe in something. even if it means sacrificing everything. just do it.’
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