Nike Pulls “Racist” Shoes Featuring Betsy Ross Flag.


Nike has recalled a shoe that was set to hit the market to commemorate July 4, citing concerns over the historic version of the U.S. flag that appears on the back of the red, white and blue sneaker.

“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag,” Nike told NPR on Tuesday. The company did not immediately respond to questions about its concerns and the intention behind the original design.

The special Air Max 1 design — which includes an embroidery of the famous “Betsy Ross” flag featuring 13 stars for the original colonies — drew complaints that it celebrated an era of the United States when slavery was legal and commonplace.

According the Wall Street Journal, the shoes were pulled after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Nike shouldn’t sell a shoe with the flag on it because the flag is considered by some to be “offensive.”

Like many things, the history of the creation of the first US flag has some gaps in it, mostly because people were concerned about securing independence from England rather that keeping a historical record for the ages. One thing is clear though, the flag was needed because of confusion on the battlefield as the American militias all seemed to have different flags.

According to

Opinions may differ on Ross’s contribution to the creation of the national colors. Yet all parties agree that American revolutionaries were using a variety of flags during the early 1770s to express their distaste for British rule. Some colonists made one that featured a British Union Jack sitting in the upper-left corner of a red field with the words “Liberty and Union” emblazoned in white along the field’s lower half. The tea-tossing Sons of Liberty flew a simple standard with alternating red and white stripes. Another popular ensign sported a coiled rattlesnake on a yellow or red-and-white striped background with the words “Don’t tread on me.” Immediately before the Declaration of Independence, probably the most used unofficial flag of revolution was the Continental Colors. This ensign had a Union Jack in the upper-left corner and alternating red and white stripes. Although unofficial, this banner saw service with American forces. It also had the distinction of being the first American flag saluted by a foreign power.

The Continental Colors, however, had a practical and a symbolic flaw. Because it contained the Union Jack, the flag could create confusion in a battle. When American soldiers raised it outside Boston, British troops thought the conflict was almost over. “By this time, I presume, they begin to think it strange that we have not made a formal surrender of our lines,” George Washington wrote. In addition, this flag did not represent reality. It implied a continuing tie to Great Britain just as a complete break was pending.

Congress recognized that the new nation needed a flag. On June 14, 1777, it passed the country’s first flag law. As legislation goes, it was refreshingly brief: “Resolved. That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Birth of Old Glory by Percy Moran

According to some, white supremacist groups have “adopted” the Betsy Ross flag as some sort of symbol. (For what we don’t know.) The question is then “does the adoption of something by a group of loathsome, hateful people change the meaning of that symbol?”

The answer is “no.”

The Betsy Ross flag is a symbol of freedom and will always be such a symbol.

There is some anger about Nike’s decision.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday he was ordering the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw incentives for Nike building a manufacturing plant in the state.

Ducey made the announcement in a series of tweets after The Wall Street Journal reported that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick urged Nike to nix a USA-themed sneaker, which featured a Betsy Ross flag on the heel, over slavery connotations.

“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” Ducey, a Republican, tweeted. “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.

“Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for 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.”

Nike planned to build a massive manufacturing plant in Goodyear, investing $184.5 million, according to ABC 15. The plant reportedly was going to create more than 500 jobs.

Goodyear agreed to waive nearly $1 million in plan review and permit fees to bring the plant into the city, The Arizona Republic reported. The city also planned to reimburse Nike $1 million for the jobs the company was set on creating.

That’s putting your money where your mouth is.

Senator Ted Cruz tweeted out:

It’s sad that this had to happen just as the nation looks to celebrate the 4th of July, the date which we as a nation historically claim as our “birthday” and the issuance of the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence is an amazing document, the likes of which the world had never seen before.

While many can cite the line “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” many people forget this:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

The men (and women) who stood under the Betsy Ross flag had much on the line. Homes and businesses were destroyed. Lives were lost on the battlefield and in prisoner of war camps and ships.

There is little doubt that the people of the colonies knew that the country as it was then was not perfect. It had flaws – flaws that would need to be and eventually were addressed.

For people like Kaepernick to have some aversion to the Betsy Ross flag shows an inherent lack of historical knowledge.

Perhaps the main difference between today and the people of 1776 was the people then put their lives and honor on the line.

People like Kaepernick certainly aren’t putting their lives on the line, and from their position on the Betsy Ross flag, they have no honor to put on the line either.

2 Responses to “Nike Pulls “Racist” Shoes Featuring Betsy Ross Flag.”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    It is time for folks to move forward and quit looking in the rear view mirror. Our country recognized the atrocities of slavery over 150 years ago when President Lincoln wrote his famous Emancipation Proclamation which effectively eliminated slavery in this country at the end of the civil war in 1865.

    Some folks in the African American community seem unable to move forward. Ironically, a quick internet search shows that the continent of Africa has some of the highest numbers or modern day slavery in the world while the Americas (North and South) have the lowest numbers of enslaved peoples. If you honestly care about ending slavery the focus needs to shift from the 150 year old mistakes our country made (and then corrected) over to ending modern day slavery on the African continent.

    I won’t hold my breath, as long as there are those who use race baiting to stir folks up and promote their political/ideological agendas we will continue to have this type of nonsense. I personally don’t buy into this stuff and will not support individuals, companies, sports teams, etc that promote it.

    “If you don’t leave your past in the past, it will destroy your future. Live for what today has to offer, not what yesterday has taken away” unknown author

  2. Bob Chadwick says:

    Let’s see if I got this figured out. Colin Kaepernick, a 2 bit half baked “NFL football player” has put the mouth on Nike because he feels that their new sneakers commemorating a 200 year old patriotic effort by a lady recognized as one of the founding mothers of our nation can in some way be interpreted as a racist event…..

    And then, Nike, a world grade manufacturer of athletic equipment, looks at this criticism and, trembling in fear and bowing to “political correctness”, takes this product off the market?

    Good grief. If that’s all it takes to make Nike bow down to the complaints of a half-wit nobody who is only seeking to get a bit of publicity, I expect I will never again waste my money on any Nike athletic products. And certainly, I will not waste any more breath on this Kaepernick person.

  3. […] we wrote about the other day, Nike pulled shoes from the market after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick claimed the “Betsy Ross flag” on the […]