You’d think before releasing a sneaker, Nike would’ve done their research. Well, don’t assume too much from the multi billion dollar brand. Looks like someone’s gone ahead and released a Fourth of July-themed sneaker with the Betsy Ross Flag – an adaptation of the State’s national flag with strong links to far right American extremists and neo-Nazis.
Honestly I wish this were a freaking drill, but it’s not.
Nike planned to release the limited edition Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July sneakers in celebration of Independence Day but the kicks will be pulled from all US stores. Pressure to cancel the sneakers came from Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback who drew attention to the flag’s hugely racist origins.
Kaepernick, who was announced the face of Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ campaign last year, allegedly reached out to Nike directly, saying the sneakers were problematic due to their dark connotations with racism. Kaepernick’s criticism of the shoe set fire to worldwide horror and the shoe has since been pulled from the market.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a Nike spokesperson said,
“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,”
The Betsy Ross Flag bears hugely problematic connotations with slavery, racism and white nationalist groups. The flag features a circle of 13 stars representing the 13 British colonies during the 18th century. This era of America’s history, as we all know, is plagued by the widespread oppression, racism and slavery.
Certainly not something people want to be sporting on their sneakers, let alone celebrating America’s national Day with. Let alone used anywhere, period.
Here Come The Conservatives
Whilst the origins and initial symbolism of the Betsy Ross Flag aren’t 100% certain, there’s very little doubt surrounding the fact that American extremists and neo-Nazis do indeed use the flag to propagate racism and far right wing ideologies.
There are, however, many conservatives who deny the negative connotations of the flag. Among them are some pretty top-dog political figures and they’re dousing this latest Nike saga with extreme far right views.
It’s a good thing @Nike only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag…. @NFL #HappyFourth https://t.co/G6w8vDjvLP
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 2, 2019
Good thing there’s a reply feature on Twitter.
They pulled it because that flag has been used as a symbol of hate by white extremists. It represents the original colonies that did not recognize black people as fully human.
— 🇺🇸Snarky Blonde🇺🇸 (@Orvieto2016) July 2, 2019
Research the Patriot Movement if you want to learn more about what this flag is connected to. Some truly heinous shit. OKC bombing, doctor assassinations, deadly militia standoffs, hate crimes, and that’s just scratching the surface.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) July 2, 2019
BREAKING:@Nike just pulled a 4th of July themed shoe feat a Betsy Ross American Flag because @Kaepernick7 complained saying it was “offensive”?!?!?!
Can we just for ONE DAY Attempt to be Americans and be PROUD especially during the 4th of July!
The day we became America?!
— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) July 2, 2019
Whilst this could quite easily be Nike’s most embarrassing slip up of the century, they’ve at least bowed down to pressure to pull the shoe from sale.
Sources: @GrahamAllen_1, @adamcbest, @Orvieto2016, @tedcruz, Sneaker News.