Nike ditches shoe with Betsy Ross flag after input from Colin Kaepernick

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He continues to be frozen out of the NFL, but he isn’t being silenced.

According to the Wall Street Journal, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has persuaded Nike to scrap plans to sell a shoe featuring the 13-star version of the American flag, known as the Betsy Ross flag. Kaepernick informed Nike that the 13-star version of the flag constitutes an “offensive symbol” due to its connection to an age of slavery. Nike agreed, and the shoe has been pulled.

“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag,” a Nike spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. Nike has not specified a reason for the move.

The design of the flag represents the original 13 American colonies. More stars were added in 1795, after Vermont and Kentucky joined the nation. Some extremist groups have appropriated the the Betsy Ross flag as a symbol of opposition to diversity.

Nike and Kaepernick joined forces last year, with Kaepernick becoming a popular endorser of a brand that also provides shoes and apparel to the NFL. The relationship has resulted in increased sales for Nike.

140 responses to “Nike ditches shoe with Betsy Ross flag after input from Colin Kaepernick

  1. So Nike has no problem with the flag logo on 76ers merchandise that sells well, but they’ll put out this story for PR reasons why?

  2. How sad is it when Nike and Phil Knight listen to CK on what they can and can’t do as far as design. If that is really true the true pioneer of athletic fashion is done. Time to look at Adidas and Puma for better constructed shoes and designs.

  3. I was already done with anything with a brand name or even my teams name on it anyway. Nike won’t get my money anyway. Hate on Nike, we don’t need you.

  4. If an extremist group appropriates a symbol does that mean the symbol may never be used anywhere?
    The Swastika is a sacred symbol in Hinduism and was appropriated by the Nazis.
    I demand the Hindus give it up.

    Does that accomplish anything? Nope.

    Giving in to extremists in either party accomplishes nothing good.
    You can’t eliminate our history.

  5. Anything and everything I owned by Nike was long ago thrown in the trash with a promise that I will never again purchase anything by Nike.

  6. Damn, now where else will I be able to buy an American flag shoe that’s made in China and marketed to socialists?

  7. So if I’m offended by their Kapernick ad campaign, is it pulled also.
    I’m also offended by the “check” logo, going to need them to change that.
    Oh and the concept of shoes offends me too, SO gonna need Nike to create a PC alternative to shoes.

  8. I’m offended! You’re offended! You’re offended! We’re all offended!

  9. “Some extremist groups have appropriated the the Betsy Ross flag as a symbol of opposition to diversity.”

    Sounds like “extremist groups” on both sides are revising history and making a political football out of a flag that is part of the nation’s story.


  10. “Kaepernick informed Nike that the 13-star version of the flag constitutes an “offensive symbol” due to its connection to an age of slavery”.

    Not surprised that Nike would pander to a guy who is woefully uninformed about the real issues in society, but talks a good game when it comes to his own personal brand of “social justice”.

  11. So slavery was legal in all 13 British colonies since 1620’s. 150 years before the revolution and abolished 90 years after. Nothing happens overnight. Independence paved way for change. Americans did not start slavery here, but Americans did end slavery here!

  12. What a joke.

    So these days in idiot world, a single person can attach something to something and it automatically becomes taboo. So everything is by this idiocy, racist or sexist, or what-ist.

    Kaepernick is an idiot. Nike is moronic.

    Then again, Kapernick doesn’t bat an eye cashing checks from companies that actually oppress people through slave wages and working conditions.

    What a fraud. Idiot and a fraud.

  13. Please…Cap and Nike need to just go away. He is so offended by everything American…and Nike caters to this asshat.

  14. Good of Nike to send middle America a reminder that they don’t want their business

  15. This is pathetic! That flag is an important symbol for the history of this country. That is how it started. The founders of the country were not perfect and neither was or is this country perfect, but it is the best that has ever existed. If some radical group has taken it, you don’t just give up. You also cannot ignore the history of this country or edit out the parts that you don’t like. The lack of tolerance shown by Kap is unacceptable!

  16. Some extremist groups have appropriated the the Betsy Ross flag as a symbol of opposition to diversity.
    Hooray for corroborating evidence.
    There is literally ONE (1) article on Google even mentioning the connection. A Michigan high school superintendent referred to the flag as symbol of racism in 2015. Hooray for responsible journalism.

  17. What a joke. I’m all for the confederate flag being brought down this is just too much. This country right and left is out of control.

  18. Hell yeah good for Kap. A true leader willing to step up and not sellout jus to be back in the NFL. Some things are more important and setting an example highlighting the injustices is easily more important. True leader unlike the Orange russian lapdog we call a president.

  19. One man’s opinion affecting industry decisions is no different than the alleged fascism against which Kaepernick purports to fight.

    His hypocrisy knows no bounds…….

  20. He has truly transcended sports to become an icon leading our nation in the right direction. I think I speak for all the commenters on this website when I say thank you Colin!

  21. Nike is going down a rabbit hole and may find themselves stuck. All well for me, I prefer the Reebok sweatshops anyways.

  22. There were moments when I respected Colin Kaepernick ‘s convictions (he’s not wrong about police brutality, just wrong about its connection to our flag or our country)..this ain’t one of them. The 13 star flag that was a symbol for the founding of our country is racist? At what point can we separate good parts of our history from bad, but still talk about them all without offending people?

  23. I was loving the shoe when images first surfaced and when I saw the flag I was pissed. For a company that markets and is supported by a ton of black people and others that routinely make mistakes like these it shows a lack of representation in creative and marketing departments. But this subject will go over the heads of most in the comment section cuz they wear Nike Monarchs, new balance and crocs haha

  24. 13 stars represent slavery? As a PROUD veteran I can’t disagree more. That flag represents the first flag of our great nation. As well as a fight from oppression from England.

  25. Actually, he has been silenced to a degree. His platform is now apparently relegated to design consultant for an athletic shoe company. Since, he has a seat in Nike, he may want to lobby for better factory worker pay in Vietnam, Malaysia, etc..

  26. Enough is enough. Glad he’s off the Niners. He will never take another snap. Good for him he got his money. Now Go away, Kaep.

  27. Am I the only one who sees the irony in Kaepernick fighting oppression while simultaneously becoming a figurehead of a company that pays their employees less than a dollar an hour to make their merchandise?

  28. Little did Betsy know that her flag would change the course of shoe history…

  29. Or it just has to do with history, and the founding of a Republic, which eventually lead to the greatest country this planet has ever known. But for some (guess Colin is a snowflake and Nike is spineless), they see slavery and oppression in everything.

    Kinda ironic that Kapernick is offended because the shoe “represents slavery”, meanwhile he cashed his check from a company notorious for the abuse of child labor…

  30. I’m sure the comments will be full of rational and calm points about this.

  31. This was the right move. I truly think that the 13 colonies represent, when we were separated as a country. Yes I know the conservatives here on this site will be quick to defend history, but that’s not the point. That history only represents positivity for the conservative/non-minority minds. It was a dark time in history for others is what I’m trying to point out. especially as a minority, which I am.

  32. So…..because some nitwit doesn’t understand that on 7/4/1776 there were 13 colonies….we have to erase any symbol of it? Should we just eliminate the entire USA Flag bc when Hawaii became a state we didn’t recognize LGBTQ rights? When we judge the past w today’s lens..nothing good happens. F Nike. I’ve bought my last Nike product.

  33. You can go down this road as Nike has obviously chosen to do and it will never end. There will always be historical reminders of our nations darkest hours. You may chose not to feature a flag that represented the beginnings of our country but you can never erase our nations history.

    If we don’t learn from it we are doomed to repeat it.

    The original 13 colonies featured colonies that were on both sides of the issue of slavery, not just one.

  34. Can someone please tell the un-enlightened which extremist groups has adopted this symbol? I’m guessing it’s like 4 dudes in a trailer somewhere or a keyboard tough guy in a basement.

  35. Can we get every Democratic Presidential candidate’s opinion on this matter?

  36. At what point do we collectively decide maybe this has gone too far?
    We can’t display the first flag of our country, to celebrate independence from religious and other types of opression?
    That flag especially stands for everything he claims to love.
    Is the 4th of July offensive?
    Am I a racist for celebrating a national holiday, representing the ideals that I swore to defend?
    Does loving and desiring freedom, freedom for EVERYONE, make me a bad person?
    Or can we maybe apply some common sense and direct our rage in a slightly more productive direction?
    This might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. And I have heard some really stupid things.

  37. Nike taking marketing advice from Kaepernick is like Vidal Sassoon taking hair care advice from Hulk Hogan.

  38. Tail wagging the dog.
    I think people who grew up prior to 1990 remember reading books like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 and thought it was only fiction.
    We seem to be on a path that, in 20 years, could be closer to reality than we could have ever imagined.

  39. “Kaepernick informed Nike that the 13-star version of the flag constitutes an ‘offensive symbol’ due to its connection to an age of slavery. Nike agreed, and the shoe has been pulled.”

    Things are getting ridiculous.

  40. This seems contrary to his previous statements that his protests were not disrespecting the flag, and that is his right.
    It’s my right to find him & Nike offensive.

  41. I’m sorry but that sneaker is not offensive. Kaepernick has staged a little war against our flag and anthem. This is personal to him. Nike has bowed down to people who think it’s wrong to be patriotic and count America’s blessings, not focus entirely on it’s few tiny flaws.

  42. What?! The flag that fought AGAINST slvery is offensive, because slavery? Im left leaning, but its this kind of extreme thinking that pushes people away from Kaepernick

  43. Why can’t Kaep jam his shoes up his colin?

    Just shut up and go away already – no one cares what you think……

  44. Colin Kaepernick clearly slept through US History 101 while being coddled and enabled through HS and college. Betsy Ross is an American hero who helped upstart a revolution which resulted in the drafting of the US Constitution, which protects his rights to the freedom to openly express his beliefs.

    If Kaepernick were a REAL revolutionary and not an entitled loser who wants everything handed to him by all the same people who’ve put him on a pedestal his whole life, he’d advocate for victims of human trafficking, or exposing the inhumane conditions in the Nike sweatshops where the shoes are made… you know, ACTUAL slavery.

  45. Great. What would we do if we didn’t have people like Kaepernick to remind us how to feel about something?

  46. I’m too lazy to Wikipedia myself, but someone please try to explain how Betsy Ross has such strong racist connotations that this reversal of plans makes sense?

    By Kap’s logic, anything in American history, no matter the immediate context, is to be shunned.

  47. If there is evidence that “the relationship has resulted in increased sales for Nike” I for one certainly have not seen it.

  48. First flag of our country, that fought for freedom. Offensive how, Nike should be ashamed , that is what is offensive. Let’s just erase all our history since everything is a race issue for the ones who sit around hunting for anyh
    Thing they find wrong. This persuaded me to not buy anything affiliated with the Nike emblem

  49. This loser is trying to stay relevant but keeps digging his own hole in the meantime.

  50. Talk about a hypocrite. Colin looks at the history of this country with the 13 star flag as offensive, yet has not held a company paying him millions, past and present history of labor issues and where these products are made accountable. I see no factories of Nike in this country. No hiring any off the culture he stands up for being repressed but of course he is getting paid millions by Nike. Reality.

  51. Why does he even have a say? Who decided he is the barometer for what is or isn’t offensive?

  52. It’s time to buy American made products — SOM Footware is made in Colorado.

    Hit ’em where it hurts!

  53. How many of you offended people would have bought a pair of the limited edition shoes anyway? None? Maybe one?

    It didn’t make a difference in your life one way or another. Yet you are still offended?
    Interesting. Entirely within your rights but interesting.

  54. Lame attempt by Nike for some pub. When pulling these types of stunts makes you wonder is Bike really do as well as the “numbers” say.

  55. Cleon Ross says:
    July 1, 2019 at 11:34 pm
    Hes quite a historian. I officially am done with Nike
    I’m with you but if you weren’t done with Nike before this then you won’t be done with Nike after this.

  56. He’s just agitating to stay relevant. Plus his ambulance chaser Geragos is ready to pounce the moment anyone with deep enough pockets responds negatively.

  57. Why am I not surprised CK finds anything and everything offensive? I’m disappointed that Nike lets him make their decisions for them. I’ll never buy anything Nike again.

  58. I’m not familiar with the use of the Betsy Ross Flag by groups opposed to diversity, however it’s Nike’s choice, if they feel some people would be offended. Based on my current awareness, shoes with the Betsy Ross flag is not something I would oppose.

    I have a 50-star flag displayed in from of my house right now, I sometimes swap it out with a 48 star flag that was my grandfathers. If I had a Betsy Ross flag I would likely display it occasionally.

    However for the majority here that are skewering Nike….you sound like a bunch of 5th graders. It’s their product, they can choose what they want to sell, and you don’t need to buy it. And they seem to be okay without you buying their product.

    Although I do suspect that if they came out with a confederate flag version, most of you would be first in line to buy them.

  59. I can’t imagine why anyone would buy anything associated with Nike now after all of this silliness the last few years… America is going to hell.

  60. Some people just look for something to be offended by. I am offended by the Nike swoosh for some reason and it should go.

  61. I realize from 1776 to 1865 there was slavery. There was always anti slavery sentiment but it did take several decades to escalate to war between mostly white American men to settle the matter. Let’s not forget the brave mostly white American men and women who took up the cause and the North’s 620,000 mostly white American men who were killed in the war so that Kaepernick’s ancestors could be free. Who ended slavery? Americans did.

  62. lanman11 says:
    July 2, 2019 at 1:16 am
    So woke….

    0 14 Rate This

    This….is what is known as sarcasm.

  63. Keep just keeps on winning!!!!

    Cant wait to leave the office and go shopping for some Nike’s that no doubt ‘Murica won’t be!

  64. Using their logic, the Declaration of Independence should be torched and the patriots that freed us from English control removed from history books…in fact, let’s just rewrite the history books to start in 2015 sto nice everything is offensive. Slavery existed as long as man, America did not invent it but it DID get rid of it!! After 40+ years of buying their stuff, no more Nike for me…

  65. Nike is the worst corporation in America, and the people who work there and make this happen are trash. Sickening.

  66. I will never purchase anything Nike, ever again. Nike products will never be welcomed in my home for as long as I am living, from this point forward.

  67. So glad he is focusing on the important, 1st world problems like hurt feelings over a shoe design.

    It would be terribly upsetting if he were instead focused on 3rd world problems like the estimated 10 million slaves in Africa.

  68. Makes me glad I got an Edelman jersey tee for my birthday a few days ago and not an Edelman NIKE jersey. There’s NOTHING offensive about the Betsy Ross flag.

    Everyone should buy a Betsy Ross flag as a counter protest. I did. The flag is also a late birthday gift to myself.

  69. Can we get every Democratic Presidential candidate’s opinion on this matter?
    I think we all know that any deviation from thumbs up for CK/Nike would be the end of viability for any candidate who dared.

  70. wreed1 says:
    July 2, 2019 at 7:14 pm
    Makes me glad I got an Edelman jersey tee for my birthday a few days ago and not an Edelman NIKE jersey. There’s NOTHING offensive about the Betsy Ross flag.

    Everyone should buy a Betsy Ross flag as a counter protest. I did. The flag is also a late birthday gift to myself.
    Please, where can you buy a Betsy Ross flag? I’m game.

  71. Guess the NFL is no longer interested in selling authentic team jersey’s to the fans….bold strategy Cotton….

  72. Done with Nike! And anyone wonder why Cap is so toxic? The American Flag is a symbol that is part of our country and we should be proud of it. If it is offensive to you go somewhere else, we don’t want or need you in the US of A. That includes YOU Cap.

  73. And please stop co-opting other’s opinions when you say “we.” Your personal thoughts don’t speak for the whole.

  74. Yet he has no problem wearing flags of other countries that commit genocide on their own people(Ghana) or will not allow their people to freely leave the country (Cuba). I wonder what he would do if he had lived there?

  75. Both CK AND NIKE lost me on this one. If you don’t like the flag, get out, Im SICK of this complaining. My great grandparents were protestant and were abused by Catholics and fled Scotland, I am not offended by Catholic Churches or symbols, It just doesn’t matter to me…grow up!!

  76. I’m fairly certain that Betsy Ross was a Quaker, and Quakers were huge abolitionists that helped end slavery in both the U.S. and across the U.K. and British Empire.
    I mean history matters right? So, we toss the flag made by a WOMAN, who had few rights of her own 250 years ago and who still stood up for the rights of others?

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