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July 2 2019

Nike Panders

by Julie Gunlock

As an NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick famously took a knee during the American anthem to protest police . For doing this, he was feted by the left (and even some on the right) and although he was eventually let go from the NFL for his poor performance on the field, he landed a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike. He continues to live a life of privilege and is routinely held up as an American hero. 

Betsy Ross lived hundreds of years ago in a country that denied her the right to vote or own land. Yet, she risked imprisonment and death by agreeing to sew the revolutionary flag. She lost two husbands, one to disease and one to the brutality suffered in a British prison, and lost her first child--a baby daughter--all by the age of 25. 

This week, Nike announced it wouldn't release a new tennis shoe that featured the Betsy Ross flag. Apparently, Nike was responding to Kaepernick, who complained that the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its "connection" to an era of slavery. Okay. Well, then, I guess it's time to shut down Mount Vernon, melt down the Liberty Bell, break up Liberty Rock, shut down Colonial Williamsburg, tear down the Paul Revere House, rename the Freedom Trail to "Some Random Things to See in Boston" Trail, turn Philadelphia's Independence Hall into an indoor farmers' market, build a mall on Valley Forge, and finally rename Washington D.C. as "Swamp City."

Some have defended Kaepernick by saying that the early flag has been "appropriated" by white nationalists groups and therefore Nike shouldn't associate with it. That might be true. I have no idea. But it seems to me that if these racist groups have adopted one of America's most iconic symbols as their own, Americans--and Kaepernick--shouldn't simply accept that. We should take it right back from them! How better to do that than to put Betsy's flag on the back of a pair of American tennis shoes. 

I don't expect Kaepernick to be smart or thoughtful in his political positions or understand the slippery slope he's advocating. But I do expect a major American corporation to reject silliness like this. 

Sadly, it appears Kaepernick's the real boss at Nike. All that Americans can do is choose to buy a different brand of tennis shoes. I know I will, in support of one of America's great ladies--Betsy Ross. 

 





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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