Nike pulls 4th of July sneaker amid Colin Kaepernick’s complaints of racism
Shoemaker Nike pulled its new 4th of July sneakers just before they were supposed to hit store shelves on Monday.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the pull of the 4th of July Air Max 1 sneaker comes after a complaint from former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who raised concerns that the Betsy Ross flag logo featured on the sneakers glorifies slavery and racism.
Nike's sudden decision to withdraw the product touched off a lively debate across the country about patriotism and political correctness.
"I don't think it's racist. I don't think it's linked to slavery," says Art Herman, of Levittown. "I think it was that period in time."
The shoe features an early version of the American flag showing 13 stars in a circle to represent the original 13 colonies.
Betsy Ross is widely credited with creating the famous flag during the American Revolution in 1777, a time when slavery existed.
For many, it is merely a relic of 18th century American history. But the flag has in recent years cropped up in association with racist ideologies.
Long Island Republican Rep. Pete King blasted Nike's decision on Instagram, calling it "an absolute disgrace and ultimate display of moral cowardice."
"White nationalists organizations like the KKK and Nazi-leaning groups, they do use it as a proxy," says Dr. Perry Greene, vice president of diversity and inclusion at Adelphi University.
Most Long Islanders News 12 spoke with say Nike bowed to political correctness and historical revisionism.
"It's the history of the United States. Can't change it," says Lydia Kaboolian, of Syosset. "What happened, happened."
Nike's decision to pull the sneaker is coming at a price. The governor of Arizona has already since announced that his state will pull millions of dollars in financial incentives from the company to build a new plant in Arizona.