Nike Yanks Betsy Ross Flag-Themed Shoes After Kaepernick’s Opposition

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shakes hands with fans after the 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 31-21 during an NFL preseason football game Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
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Nike is recalling scores of Fourth of July-themed sneakers featuring the Betsy Ross version of the American flag after former NFL player Colin Kaepernick said that they harken back to an era of slavery.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the shoes had already been shipped to retailers when Nike called them back.

The NAACP says that the Ross flag has been appropriated by some white nationalist groups as a protest against America’s increasing diversity.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) responded angrily to the company’s decision Tuesday morning, saying that he’d withdraw financial incentives for a Nike manufacturing plant scheduled to open outside of Phoenix.

“Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike,” he said in the multiple-tweet statement. “We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) quickly hopped aboard the bandwagon.

Nike made Kaepernick the face of an ad campaign last year amid his fighting with the NFL over his national anthem protests.

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Notable Replies

  1. I hope Nike sues the living crap out of Arizona for every penny they’ve already spent in that state, and then locates somewhere else.

    Its amazing how quickly the right wing has come to the defense of white supremacists.

  2. The flag was the original flag of the 13 colonies. Kaep was right to protest it b/c the original Republic kept slavery yet let slaves count for 3/5th of a person to improve representation of racist slaveholders in our gov’t. It is directly connected to what we’re facing in 2020 today.

  3. I guess they did “Just Do It.”


  4. People still buy Nikes? They’ve been overpriced crap for years. Nike no longer can save trivial amounts of money making their shoes abroad–I guess we should be happy, but they’ll probably leave the minute the tax incentives end, so their threats now are likely to be meaningless in the long run.

  5. Avatar for dmcg dmcg says:

    Would Kaepernick protest the Union Jack? It was around during slavery.

    The Confederate Flag is undoubtedly a symbol of slavery. The Nazi and Rising Sun flags are symbols of oppression.

    The Betsy Ross flag may recently have been appropriated by some right-wing fringe group, but, on it’s own, it’s not a symbol of slavery any more than the various flag permutations from 1776-1865 are. This is just getting silly.

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