Colin Kaepernick reminded the shoe company that Betsy Ross' flag was also, you know, a little bit associated with slavery, and Nike took his wise counsel given the times. Then the Republican Governor of Arizona had a fit.
July 2, 2019

Nike has agreed to pull a shoe designed with Betsy Ross' American Flag from the late 18th century slated to begin sales this week, based on the objection of Colin Kaepernick and other activists for racial equality. Kaepernick is a spokesmodel for Nike, and reminded the shoe company that the original American flag, with thirteen stars embroidered in a circle is also threaded with slavery and oppression.

To hammer home the message that many white Americans long for those days of oppression and slavery, personified by Trump and his Republican followers, white supremacists have begun to wave this flag as their symbol of nostalgia. According to The Washington Post,

That version of the flag has reportedly been adopted by some white nationalists and other groups that object to America’s growing racial diversity.

In response to a 2016 incident in which students at a predominantly white Michigan high school waved the 13-star flag during a football game against an opponent that featured several African American players, the head of the NAACP’s chapter in Grand Rapids, Mich., said that the flag had been “co-opted by exclusionary movements,” including “the so-called ‘Patriot Movement’ and other militia groups who are responding to America’s increasing diversity with opposition and racial supremacy.”

Wisely respecting the counsel of Kaepernick and other activists who objected loudly to capitalizing on this symbol during these times, Nike halted sales and requested that stores return the sneakers it already had.

In response, Arizona's governor Doug Ducey displayed characteristic Republican sensitivity to the oppression of marginalized folks by rescinding tax incentives to Nike it had promised in return for NIke building a plant outside of Phoenix. Gov. Ducey does the usual Republican math of equating "political correctness" with "ending oppression and cruelty."

Saying the company “has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism” and that he was “embarrassed for Nike,” Ducey announced that he would be ordering the state’s Commerce Authority to withhold financial incentives it was planning to give Nike for opening a manufacturing plant west of Phoenix.

“Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike,” Ducey wrote. “We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history.”

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