Nike is facing an image crisis and severe backlash after creating a July 4th sneaker with a Betsy Ross flag then abruptly jerking it from sales.
The decision followed a complaint from Colin Kaepernick, whose NFL career ended after he sparked a movement of players kneeling during the national anthem.
Nike is yanking a sneaker featuring the “Betsy Ross flag” after Colin Kaepernick said he and others consider the symbol to be offensive https://t.co/eKVtPM6oTA
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) July 1, 2019
Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted Kaepernick on Tuesday.
“These people are not interested in what’s best for America. They want to tear it down, folks,” Limbaugh said on his nationally syndicated show. “They’re not even hiding it anymore. They’re not trying to even camouflage it. They aren’t trying to mask it. They aren’t trying to deceive us. They’re flat-out in our faces. They don’t like this country, and it’s not about fixing it. It’s about tearing it down.”
Limbaugh said Kaepernick “and his behavior and Nike going along with him, in my estimation, is flat-out un-American.”
“It’s anti-America, let’s put it that way. We don’t have any overlap here where it used to be said (impression), ‘Yeah, well, we’re all. … We all want the best for America. We just have different, uh, theories about how to get there.’ They’re not looking at the best! They want to rip this country apart. They want to tear up the concepts of the American founding.”
Twitter news aggregator Twitchy commented, “Kaepernick must have noticed no one has been talking about or paying any attention to him because he’s throwing a fit AGAIN about the country that has given him everything.
“This time he’s going after a shoe – imagine having enough time on your hands to sit around being offended over Nike putting the Betsy Ross flag on a sneaker.”
Kaepernick apparently was offended because the flag comes from a time when there was slavery in the United States.
The Wall Street Journal reported 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, people familiar with the matter said.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, put the matter in perspective in one tweet.
“It’s a good think Nike only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag…” he said.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 2, 2019
CNBC reported the sneakers suddenly were appearing on resale websites, up from the regular $120 to as much as $2,500.
Meanwhile, Nike shares were down Tuesday. CBS reported the governor of Arizona had had enough of the Nike stunts.
“Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday said he’s rescinding financial incentives recently offered to the maker of athletic shoes to build a $185 million plant and bring 500 jobs to the state. The governor, a Republican, made his move a day after the Goodyear City Council unanimously approved Nike’s plan to build its third U.S. manufacturing plant, making Nike Air shoes in the suburb of Phoenix. The city agreed to waive nearly $1 million in plan-review and permit fees and reimburse Nike another $1 million for the jobs created, according to local media reports,” the report said.
“Ducey in a tweet called Nike’s decision a ‘shameful retreat,’ saying ‘American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.'”
He said he told the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion.
Kaepernick polarized the NFL in 2016 when he started sitting on the bench instead of standing during the national anthem before NFL games. He later started kneeling.
He said it was in protest of police officers killing unarmed black men.
When his contract ran out with the San Francisco 49ers and he was unable to sign with a new team, he filed a grievance under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement alleging owners conspired to keep him out of the league. He eventually accepted a settlement.