Nike’s Judgment Error

Earlier this week, a story came out that Nike was not going to release a 4th of July edition Air
Max 1 with the Betsy Ross edition flag on the heel of the shoe. This occurred at the request of
one of Nike’s most verbal and controversial figures: athlete turned activist Colin Kaepernick. He
came out and said he wanted production stopped of the shoe because, “he and others consider it
an offensive symbol due to its connection to a time when slavery was legal.” Nike then released
a statement on Tuesday, “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 Betsy Ross flag became this country’s flag with the birth of the 13 original colonies and the freedom they received from Great Britain after the Revolutionary
War. The iconic events that occurred under this flag can never be taken out of history books, unless we allow it. The Philadelphia 76ers have that very same 13 colonies circle on their jerseys. No one came out to criticize or label that “offensive” when the 76ers released the logo decision on social media a few years ago. Do I agree that the flag is offensive? No. If you start
with the original flag of this country, which was founded by a group of people who were tired of
being taxed without being properly represented, speak their minds without being imprisoned or
tortured, then where is the line drawn? If you start there, where does it end? I do understand
certain symbols of the past such as the Nazi swastika or the KKK symbols are a black eye in our world history because of what they represent as well as the associated figures along with them. We all have things in our past we aren’t proud to say occurred, but it’s who we are. Am I
ashamed of some of my past?Absolutely. If you were honest with yourself, you know there are actions in your own past you’re also embarrassed over and wish you could undo. The past is the
past. We learn from it. We don’t dwell on it. Years ago, Waylon Jennings did a song on the
classic Sesame Street film, “Follow That Bird.” This line should carry much weight for each one of us: “Don’t dwell on the bad times once they’re passed. That kind of thinking gets you nowhere fast.” Are you and am I still dwelling on the past errors of humankind and a nation? Or, are we moving forward and seeing what’s on the horizon? Keep in mind, when you’re driving a
car, do you constantly look back in the rearview mirror? If so, at some point, you will have to hit the brakes hard because you will miss what is directly in your front windshield. Frankly, we as a
nation are starting to do this. Did Nike make the right decision by this? I don’t think so. When
Kaepernick was inked by Nike to be one of their spokesmen, I was not one of those crazy people who went out and cut up all their Nike socks, burned their shoes and gear, or other stunts like that. I think when it comes to what we find offensive, we are now going down a road that is
treacherous. If we find something such as the flag of our nation’s founding offensive, then where
does it stop? Who or what do we find offensive next? Our Founding Fathers? Our friends? Our family? Where is the stopping point? Nike has chosen to go down a path that has a dead end. There’s no turning back from this. Once you chose to go down a certain road, it is far too narrow to make a U-turn. If you find the U.S. founding flag offensive, under which freedom was born in
1776, then what’s next?

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