GOP Senators Rip Into Nike for Pulling Betsy Ross Flag Sneaker After Kaepernick's Freak Out


It didn’t take long for GOP lawmakers to criticize Nike over its apparent choice to delegate product decisions involving patriotic merchandise to Colin Kaepernick.

If you haven’t heard, a special Nike sneaker meant to celebrate the Fourth of July, the Air Max 1 USA, was recalled by the company after it had already been produced and sent out to retailers.

The reason was that Nike spokesman Colin Kaepernick objected to the fact that the red, white and blue footwear had a Betsy Ross flag on the heel, according to a Wall Street Journal report Monday.

You’ve probably seen that one — the one with 13 stars in a circle in the blue portion of the flag, one for each colony.

Sources within Nike told The Journal that the swoosh’s head of social justice twaddle “reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery.”

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Nike was circumspect regarding the actual reason the shoes were recalled from retailers before they were to go on sale on Monday.

“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 Nike spokeswoman told The Journal.

Do you think Nike should have pulled this sneaker?

A Nike spokesperson told Conservative Tribune, a section of The Western Journal, “NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”

The spokesperson added that “Nike is a company proud of its American heritage.”

I guess no company wants to say, “Yeah, we created and approved a product, but one of our endorsers felt that it used a flag from the age of slavery and we didn’t want to offend him or any of the professionally offended individuals he brought in, so we decided to recall it.”

However, as explanations go, this is a pretty poor one, particularly given the tornado of invective they were about to get hit by.

That invective included two extremely visible Republican senators, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

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Well, that’s definitely putting a point on it. However, it’s perhaps not inaccurate when you create this sort of controversy right before we celebrate Independence Day.

Hawley, meanwhile, lamented that Nike “thinks the American flag is symbol of oppression? What planet are you on? Nike gladly allows Chinese Communist Party to tell it what products to sell while building its business around sweatshop labor. Nike is anti-American, pure & simple.”

“Nike is a symbol of everything wrong with the corporate economy,” he added. “They take advantage of our laws but send jobs overseas for sweatshop wages, partner w repressive regimes, aggressively avoid paying any US taxes, and then tell Americans to shut up and buy their stuff.”

In addition to Sens. Cruz and Hawley, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey criticized Nike for kowtowing “to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism.”

“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” Ducey said in a series of tweets.

He also said he requested all financial advantages for Nike to invest in the state to be withdrawn; in an earlier tweet, he had said the company was looking to locate a facility in the state.

Those are three very angry, very visible people. That’s not what Nike should be concerned about, however. Nike should be afraid of the fact that there are a lot of people who feel exactly the same way they do.

They don’t see the Betsy Ross flag as connected to slavery. Instead, they see it as a beautiful symbol of our nation’s past. It’s a past that’s inarguably imperfect, but that doesn’t make the American Revolution or the founding of this nation any less worthy of veneration.

Most Americans believe that. They also buy shoes.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture