US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on July 2 urged Nike to reverse its decision to pull sneakers bearing the Betsy Ross flag – an early iteration of the US flag – after former NFL player Colin Kaepernick said the flag was offensive.
The new Air Max 1 USA shoes were designed to mark the Fourth of July and were embroidered with the flag, which includes 13 stars in a circle representing the original Thirteen Colonies of the US.
According to the New York Times, Kaepernick privately expressed concern to Nike that the flag “had been co-opted by groups espousing racist ideologies,” prompting Nike to recall the shoe from stores.
“If we’re in a political environment where the American flag has become controversial to Americans, I think we’ve got a problem,” McConnell said.
“I hope Nike either releases these shoes or some other shoemaker picks up the flag, puts it on a pair of shoes and starts selling it.
I’ll make the first order.” The Kentucky senator made the comments at the end of a University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment event in Lexington celebrating hemp production.
Credit: University of Kentucky via Storyful