Nike was earlier slammed for a controversial ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, who, as a star quarterback in 2016, protested racial discrimination by kneeling during the national anthem prior to professional US football games.
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.
No less furious comments came in torrents from other Twitterians:
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.”
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.