Nike’s Tasteless Fourth of July Publicity Stunt

by Christopher Paslay

Nike’s Air Max 1 USA is a fake sneaker designed for fake outrage. 

Something stinks about Nike’s recent “Betsy Ross” sneaker debacle.  It’s not just that the whole episode – from the planned release of the Air Max 1 USA to the supposed pulling of it from retailers – happened in less than five seconds (faster, even, than the fishy 36-hour hunt, capture, and public humiliation of the MAGA Bomber), but that it involved none other than aggrieved activist Collin Kaepernick, whom Nike is paying millions of dollars in endorsement money.

Think about this for a moment.  Why would Nike, an athletic company that jumped into the political fray on the side of a quarterback who refused to respect the American flag and stand for the National Anthem, wake up one morning and decide to put – get this – an American flag on their sneakers?  Seriously?

I don’t buy this for a moment.  I don’t think Nike ever intended to release the Air Max 1 USA “Betsy Ross” sneaker in mass quantities, and that they’re coordinating with Kaepernick to not only push their politically correct revisionist politics on Americans, but to create a huge controversy over the Fourth of July weekend in order to score a ton of free publicity.

In short, it’s a genius plan that will allow both Kaepernick and Nike to stay relevant in the public eye, and market their other sneakers – like the Air Foamposite One – in the process. After all, Kaepernick was recently paid an estimated $10 million by the NFL to keep his divisive, anti-American whining to himself, which basically blew his nonsensical “believe in something, even if it means sacrifice everything” ad campaign with Nike all to pieces.  

So Nike may have used a new approach to market Kaepernick and continue to cash-in on their multi-million dollar endorsement with him: they created a bogus “Betsy Ross” sneaker slated to be released during the Independence Day holiday, only to pull the product once Kaepernick raised objections.  The whole thing is a fantastic joke, really.  You’d assume Nike’s shoe designers would have consulted with Kaepernick before releasing the sneaker, since his opinion is apparently held in such high regard by Phil Knight, or maybe done some product research among the demographic of millennials Nike is so terrified of offending.      

But it seems this bit of research slipped their minds. 

Now the easily offended millennials and perpetually outraged liberals, are, well, offended and outraged. Somehow, some way, the once highly revered Betsy Ross flag is now the new coded symbol of hate by white supremacists, although the evidence of this is pretty much nonexistent.  Which is not to say, even as I write this, that liberal, America-hating malcontents aren’t out there spinning their web of revisionist propaganda in an all-out effort to equate the flag – once a symbol of freedom and independence – with hatred and racism.  

Rolling Stone magazine had this to say about the flag:     

But as many on social media pointed out, the American flag sewn by Betsy Ross is not a symbol of early American history that is totally devoid of meaning. It has been used by some extremist groups as a means of telegraphing a return to more traditionalist (re: predominantly white and male) American ideals. “Under the guise of ‘heritage,’ symbols of early U.S. history have long been adopted by hate groups set on returning to a time when all non-white people were viewed as subhuman and un-American,” says Keegan Hankes, research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). “Historically, these symbols have been used by white supremacists, both to hearken back to a time when black people were enslaved, while also painting themselves as the inheritors of the ‘true’ American tradition.”

So there you have it. Kaepernick, some sensitive millennials on Twitter, and a member of the ultra-left SPLC say it’s racist, so that’s that: the Betsy Ross flag is now off limits for everyone.  

What a sad state of affairs.

Nike can keep their goofy sneakers, and Collin Kaepernick can spend his holiday weekend outraged and offended.  I, for one, will be celebrating the privilege of living in the best country in the world. And I’ll be doing it in a pair of New Balance running shoes, thank you very much.  

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