Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Who's Running Nike?

Who’s Running Nike?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 2, 2019

Independence Day is approaching in these United States, except for Nike, which apparently can not or will not break free from football has been Colin Kaepernick. 

The sneaker company’s new launch, the Air Max 1 Quick Strike, adorned with the Betsy Ross flag, has been struck down due to the opinion of one anti-American, hypocritical malcontent. The flag, featuring 13 white, five-pointed stars on a field of blue in the upper left corner, and the traditional 13 stripes - seven red and six white dates back to the Revolutionary War-era. 

Kaepernick claims the Betsy Ross flag offends him because it is used by an alleged white supremacist group. Additionally, Kaepernick said the flag offends him as it comes from a time of slavery, according to The Wall Street Journal. Based upon that “logic,” only flags dating from 1865 would be acceptable to Kaepernick? Anyone offended by the American flag should not live in the United States.

And by the way, the Betsy Ross flag was the flag of the American colonies when the British surrendered at Saratoga. Additionally, that same flag adorned both of the Obama inaugurals, so evidently he did not see it as a symbol of racism. Old Glory is a symbol of unity, under which Americans of all colors, creeds, and orientations served and fought. This includes Crispus Attucks, a patriot of African and Native American descent, believed to be the first person killed in the Boston Massacre (March 5, 1770) and thus the first person killed in the Revolutionary war.

Nike’s long-standing slogan is “Just do it.” Kaepernick says just don’t do it, and Nike falls to its knees shuddering in a most cowardly manner, deferring to Kaepernick, giving him more power than he deserves. Nike folded like a cheap tent in an effort to pander to Kaepernick and his minions.

In a statement explaining why it pulled the shoes, Nike said it did not want to “unintentionally offend and detract from the patriotic holiday,” believing Kaepernick holds sway over more people than those who would purchase the Air Max 1.

Kaepernick is certainly entitled to his First Amendment right of free speech in expressing his opinion about Nike’s use of the Betsy Ross flag. Similarly, everyone else has the same rights afforded by the First Amendment to condemn Kaepernick and/or Nike. If Nike had any guts, it would stand up to Kaepernick, praise Betsy Ross, and defend the use of an American flag. Just because a supposed white nationalist group co-opted the Betsy Ross flag does not make it permanently theirs. Nike should commandeer the flag back to the side of the good and deny the evil its appropriation.

Yet, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Mark Pitcavage, the Betsy Ross flag does not appear on its extensive list of hate symbols it tracks. “The Betsy Ross flag is not common among white supremacists,” said Pitcavage, a senior research fellow with the ADL’s Center on Extremism.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) rescinded a $1 million tax incentive for a Nike factory in the Grand Canyon State. “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,” Tweeted Ducey. Ducey’s office later confirmed the cancelation of the $1 million from the Arizona Commerce Authority Competes Fund.

“The Betsy Ross flag is now a symbol of White Nationalism and slavery? Not defiance against a distant monarchy? PC madness is accelerating just in time for 2020,” Tweeted co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Joe Scarborough opposing the Nike decision. 

If Kaepernick doesn’t like the sneakers, he should not buy them. Who the hell is he to dictate what a corporation sells or does not sell? Let the free market system decide. Both Kaepernick, an attention whore who hasn’t suited up in the NFL since 2016, and Nike have embarrassed themselves. Stop giving Kaepernick a forum and perhaps he’ll quietly slink away. 

One of the great aspects of the United States is freedom of choice. I have exercised my right to shun Nike since they made the mistake of giving Kaepernick a platform, and will continue to speak with my wallet by shopping elsewhere. Celebrate your economic freedom by exercising your right to exercise in anything but a pair of Nikes. Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.


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