When Nike decided to no longer offer its new collection with a Fourth of July theme over concerns by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick stating the shoes were “racially insensitive,” many Nike fans were up in arms. However, they were not the only ones, and as a result, a clothing company in Georgia has decided to voice their objection by releasing a Betsy Ross flag t-shirt.
A veteran-owned apparel company, located in Savannah, Georgia, took issue with Nike’s decision to cancel what they termed as a “patriotic release.” As described on their website, Nine Line Apparel feels that the Betsy Ross Flag stands as a symbol of the “freedom fought and owned by early Americans.”
The description went on to state that Nine Line Apparel stood with those relentlessly patriotic Americans everywhere. And was not able to believe both the ignorance and total lack of understanding that was not only displayed by Colin Kaepernick but by Nike as well, concerning the Betsy Ross flag of our country—mainly its symbolism and it’s meaning.
Nine Line Apparel also went so far to say that with Nike deciding to pull the new line, it gave the impression that, in Nine Line Apparel’s opinion, that Nike didn’t care about Independence Day. They also noted that for both Colin Kaepernick and Nike to object to the release of the new, what could have been a profitable summer footwear selling line, is almost like opposing the nation’s celebration of the fourth of July. It would seem that Kaepernick and Nike do not care about the correlation that the Betsy Ross flag with this most patriotic holiday we, as a nation, celebrate.
In a report by WJCL, the CEO of Nine Line Apparel urged American citizens to boycott Nike, and stop supporting them, and also join their effort by using the hashtag #NoToNike. Tyler Merritt, CEO of Nine Line Apparel and a retired US Army Captain, told WJCL that the American people “should support the red, white, and blue and boycott Nike and join our #NoToNike campaign.” Nike’s slogan is ‘just do it.’ Merritt says America should just stand—stand for your country and your beliefs.
Although Mark Rhodes, and spokesman for Nike, stated that the company decided to cancel its intended release of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, it featured an old version of the American flag. Nine Line Apparels comment to that is that “apparently, symbols of patriotism are not racist.”
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Was the real reason that Nike canceled the release of their fourth of July edition due to racism?