Fifty years ago, there was such respect for the American flag that it was considered disrespectful to wear the flag on any clothing. Therefore, those who wanted to protest the Vietnam War and other “progressives” would wear clothing with the flag.
Today, we have switched positions. Those who want to show respect to the flag and to our country wear clothing with the flag, while those who are upset with the country will deliberately not wear anything with the American flag.
Nike decided that, in conjunction with the 243rd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, that it would sell a sneaker with an image of the flag allegedly made by Betsy Ross of the 13 original states.
Betsy would often tell her children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends of a fateful day, late in May of 1776, when three members of a secret committee from the Continental Congress, which included George Washington, came to ask her to sew the first flag. She completed the flag in either May or June of 1776. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the national flag. “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” (UShistory.org).
Then came Nike’s “star,” professional football player Colin Kaepernick, who objected to it because of the history of slavery. Nike listened to the self-professed conscience of America and pulled the sneakers. Nike’s act has been applauded by some progressives, including presidential candidate Julian Castro.
The irony is that if Kaepernick, with such an attitude, had been alive during the American Revolution, he might have been a loyalist, since the British, in desperation, promised slaves of the “rebels” that they would be released if they fought on the British side.
Like the vast majority of corporations, Nike is doing what is best for them. Nike has decided that its clientele would agree with Kaepernick’s position. Instead of owning up to its decision, Nike initially came up with a ridiculous reason: “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” (Washington Times). Nike wants us to believe that it thought we still have 13 states, or a flag with only 13 stars, until it was pointed out to them by the “historian” Colin Kaepernick.
Then Nike admitted what the issue really was. “We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products, and services. Nike made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.” The problem is that their action of pulling the shoes is what is detracting from the holiday.
The way to prove them wrong is for everyone who has bought Nike products to stop doing so and contact Nike to tell them why.
It is a sad commentary on our society that Nike believes that the majority of their customers would find the Betsy Ross flag to be offensive.
People tend to look at historic events in the prism of our time. There are also those like Kaepernick who delude themselves into thinking that they are greater, smarter, and have higher morals than our founding fathers. Our Founding Fathers were not perfect, but they were able to defeat the strongest country in the world at that time and had to also deal with loyalists in the colonies who were fighting together with the British. They were able to create a system of government that has been a model for the world. The French had their own revolution less than 20 years later, and that did not end well.
After this controversy started, I went to West Point to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, give thanks to our men in uniform, and watch fireworks. I did not wear my Nike shirt, which I put in an appropriate place, but I wore my shirt with a picture of the American flag from the Civil War period.
People like Kaepernick and corporations like Nike come and go, while our nation will continue to endure. Take a hike, Nike.