Los Angeles, July 4 (IANS) A pair of Nike sneakers, themed on an early version of the American flag, has led to political outrage in the US ahead of the country’s Independence Day. Nike earlier this week cancelled the release of the sneakers which featured a 13-star flag, said to have been designed by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross around the time of the American Revolution.
A report by The Wall Street Journal said Nike took a decision to yank the sneakers, called the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, after NFL star-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive.
Nike said it routinely makes business decisions to withdraw products or services, cited media reports. “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.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey condemned Nike’s decision to nix the release of the shoes. Ducey tweeted: “I cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike. Nike is an iconic American brand and American company. This country, our system of government and free enterprise have allowed them to prosper and flourish.
“Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism. It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.”
He said he has ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to “withdraw all financial incentie dollars under their discretion that the state was providing or the company to locate here”.
“Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history. And finally, it shouldn’t take a controversy over a shoe for our kids to know who Betsy Ross is. A founding mother. Her story should be taught in all American schools. In the meantime, it’s worth googling her,” Ducey wrote.
Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted: “Hey, Nike “we’re just a quick jaunt over the border… Thank you for doing the right thing. CA is open for business and welcomes those that represent the best of our American values.”
After the brand decided against releasing the shoes, they reportedly made their way for online sale for as much as over $2,000. One such website was StockX. But later, Scott Cutler, StockX CEO, tweeted: “We have decided to remove the Nike Air Max 1 USA from our site today and prohibit any further sales of this item on StockX as the sale of this product on our platform does not align with our value system.”
The social media also had people questioning: “Was the Betsy Ross flag a ‘symbol of hate/white supremacy’ when it was flown at Barack Obama’s inauguration?”