Before Nike's Done Trashing the Betsy Ross Flag, They Need to See This Pic of Obama's Inauguration


Apparently, one of the earliest iterations of the American flag is racist. Who would have thought?

If you’re late to the party and haven’t turned on the TV or been on the internet in the last 48 hours, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick managed to get Nike’s special Fourth of July shoe, the Air Max 1 USA, recalled after it had been shipped to stores.

“After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, 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,” sources told The Journal.

The article also mentioned that the Betsy Ross flag — the flag with 13 stars in a circle, representing the 13 colonies, dating from the 1770s — had been appropriated by a limited number of white nationalist groups.

That could have been said in 2013. As it turns out, our first black president didn’t seem to have much of a problem with the Betsy Ross flag back then:

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Nike made it clear on Tuesday that even though they had to be convinced by Kaepernick, they were fully on board with the idea that the flag was racist.

“We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products and services. 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,” Nike said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

Some on the left were totally on board with the company’s decision.

Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany wrote on Thursday that “Though it’s unclear how widespread the explicit use of the Betsy Ross flag as a symbol of white supremacy is, The Washington Post tied it to the resurgence of the Patriot movement in 2016 — citing its use by many of the new-wave white nationalist militias that arose in the wake of Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

Do you think the Betsy Ross flag is racist?

“In short: The connection to actual radical groups is there, if not obvious to most people. But ultimately, it shouldn’t really matter: Enough people saw the design and were offended by it, sensing something amiss in its celebration. Kaepernick wasn’t the only one; the sentiment appeared frequently on social media after the sneaker was announced. And it’s just a shoe — it makes more sense to get rid of it than to risk poking at historical wounds for no reason.”

Apparently, poking at people upset by Nike’s decision is an acceptable risk.

Joe Scarborough of all people may have put it best:

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“The Betsy Ross flag is now a symbol of White Nationalism and slavery? Not defiance against a distant monarchy? Really, Nike?” he tweeted on Tuesday.

“PC madness is accelerating just in time for 2020. Trump feeds on your reflexive Wokeness. Great job, everybody.”

Just six years ago, our president wasn’t woke enough to realize that the Betsy Ross flag represented slavery and white nationalism. Up until this past week, almost none of us were, including Nike, which had to recall the shoes from retailers at the last minute.

The debacle may not work out for Nike or the woke brigade, who have made it clear that nothing is sacred. After all, if the Betsy Ross flag is good enough for President Obama, it should be good enough for Vox and good enough for a shoe manufacturer.

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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