Nike stops release of "racist" July 4 shoe featuring the Betsy Ross flag
4 July 2019, 11:44
Are these Nike trainers racist?
Nike has just axed the release of a pair of Air Max 1 trainers created for American Independence Day (July 4) after the design was accused of being "racist".
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The shoes feature the US flag's traditional red, white and blue colouring and is thought to have been designed by Betsy Ross, although this is often disputed. It also has 13 stripes and 13 stars on it to represent the original US colonies.
The flag was created in 1792, a time when the slave trade was expanding. And since then, this version of the flag has been used by white nationalist extremist groups like the American Nazi Party.
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Updated 7/2/19: After Colin Kaepernick’s intervention, Nike has officially cancelled the release of this shoe. - Celebrate the upcoming #IndependenceDay holiday with these Air Max 1s featuring the flag sewn by Betsy Ross. For a closer look at this upcoming release, tap the link in our bio.
When the design surfaced online, it was called out by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Colin is known for his political activism after fighting against systematic racism against African-Americans by kneeling in protest during the National Anthem. The sportsman also fronted Nike's Just Do It 30th anniversary campaign.
Colin told the sportswear brand that he found the flag offensive because of its links with slavery, the The Wall Street Journal reports.
Nike has now confirmed in a statement that the trainers wouldn't go on sale on July 1 as originally planned "based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday". However, somehow the trainers have found their ways online anyway.
According to the BBC, on Tuesday (July 2) the trainers were selling for over $1,500 on StockX, an online marketplace for trainers.
Nike's move to cancel the trainers' release caused a huge debate online.
It's hard to believe on the eve of Fourth of July celebrations the media would be trying to support the notion that the Betsy Ross American flag is the new "Stars & Bars" that is more shameful than the feckless move by Nike which is their right.— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) July 3, 2019
If Betsy Ross's flag is "offensive," then so too are the millions of Americans who died defending her. Nike should move its headquarters to Tehran, where the American flag is also offensive and America too is hated.— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) July 3, 2019
love that people are angry at nike for the betsy ross flag shoe recall while claiming that nike is being revisionist about american history - they will be shocked to find out that most historians don't believe the betsy ross flag story is even real.— hasanabi (@hasanthehun) July 3, 2019
Ross is mostly a myth, invented later. The flag however is used by many extreme far-right groups who lionize the period of slavery and white supremacy. Nike made the decision based on that. No surprise the habitually bigoted WSJ ignores that for a partisan angle.— Gearóid Dubh (@Gearoid_Dubh) July 3, 2019
Wonder why no one had a problem with the Betsy Ross flag during Obama's inauguration... Thanks Nike. pic.twitter.com/xAVU8MEqrv— Rack Em Up (@RackEmUpLLC) July 3, 2019
I think this Betsy Ross flag Air max thing is a stretch but these MAGA dudes in their feelings are full of shit. They don't rock Nikes bruh. You would think somebody came for their trail running New Balances🤷🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/PRSziEIDdd— •Keyser Oprah• (@MonkeyBlood) July 4, 2019