Actions have consequences. The people at the top of Nike, one of the world’s most profitable sports equipment brands, are finding out that siding with a National Football League anti-patriot side show WILL hurt the bottom line.
This week, the company pulled a new product which is shoes featuring the Betsy Ross flag of the Revolutionary War period on the recommendation of Colin Kaepernick who made a name for himself “taking a knee” during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before a game.
As a result, the governor of Arizona pulled up the welcome mat extended to Nike to entice them into building a production facility in that state.
Nike’s private decision, revealed in a Wall Street Journal article Monday, sparked a national debate over the historic emblem. Arizona’s Republican governor pulled his support for a planned Nike factory; New Mexico’s Democratic governor invited the company to her state. So many social-media users weighed in to criticize or defend the move that colonial seamstress “Betsy Ross” was one of the most discussed topics on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Nike said it is “proud of its American heritage” and made the decision “based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”
Word is that the state of California has stepped into the Arizona argument and has also extended an invitation.
Nike actually tried to keep the decision to not release the product quiet and asked retailers to return them, but anything that is the least bit unpatriotic these days ends up under a microscope as the public gets wind of it. That seems to be what happened in this case.
Nike decided to err on the side of caution and quietly asked retailers to ship the Betsy Ross flag sneakers back, the people said. Several employees at Nike said they were unsure what made the design racist and questioned why the company pulled the shoe.
After critics called the company unpatriotic, Nike said Tuesday it supports thousands of U.S. athletes, including the U.S. Olympic and soccer teams, employs 35,000 people domestically and remains committed to creating jobs in the country.
And yet, the nation’s original flag is not allowed on their products at this time.