Right-wing pundits and politicians are stating their intentions to boycott Nike after the company decided to withdraw a series of sneakers that featured a Betsy Ross flag, apparently forgetting that they had already called for a boycott last year.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Nike had decided to pull a series of Air Max 1 tennis shoes, WSJ’s sources said, after former NFL player Colin Kaepernick advised the company to pull the design from shelves. The shoes featured a 13-star American flag, often referred to as the Betsy Ross flag. As SiriusXM Progress radio host Dean Obeidallah points out, the Betsy Ross flag has been used for years in white nationalist and white supremacist propaganda, whose proponents idolize eras of American history when slavery was legal.
Right-wing pundits had declared intentions to boycott Nike products last year after the athletic company released an ad campaign featuring Kaepernick, who has been an outspoken voice against police violence affecting black and brown communities in the United States. After the ad campaign debuted last year, conservative internet users shared photos and videos of themselves mutilating their Nike sportswear, setting Nike shoes on fire and taking scissors to Nike socks.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced today that he ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority “to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here” in response to the news.
“Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history,” Ducey wrote on Twitter.
Ducey’s move was celebrated by White House social media manager Brad Parscale and Trump 2020 senior advisor Kimberly Guilfoyle called Nike’s decision “pathetic.” GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel said that it was “shameful for Nike to cave to this degree of political correctness,” while Marc Lotter, director of strategic communications for Trump’s 2020 campaign, urged people not to buy Nike products ever again.
Sen. Ted Cruz accused Nike of only wanting “to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag.” Rep. Josh Hawley joined in and claimed that Nike “is a symbol of everything wrong with the corporate economy.” Fox News host Laura Ingraham declared that her family would no longer purchase Nike sneakers.
Anti-Muslim activist Brigitte Gabriel called for a Nike boycott, and far-right commentator Michelle Malkin put it more bluntly: “F**k Nike.” The verified Women for Trump Twitter account tweeted that Nike was dead to them.
Newsmax’s John Cardillo wrote: “screw you both.”
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) July 2, 2019
Matt Walsh wrote that Nike’s withdrawal of the shoe proved that Kaepernick was protesting the American flag—not police brutality—all along.
We were always told that Kaepernick wasn’t protesting the flag. He was protesting police brutality, allegedly. But apparently it was about the flag all along. What a shocking twist.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) July 2, 2019
Pro-Trump propagandist and Pizzagate truther Jack Posobiec fired off multiple tweets about Nike, claiming that the shoe company was helping re-elect Trump, and joking that it would be launching an “Antifa shoe line.”
Tomorrow: Nike launches Antifa shoe line!
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 2, 2019
Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren wrote that Kaepernick was “offended and oppressed by a freakin’ shoe. Let that sink in.”
The whiny @nike spokes-baby is offended and oppressed by a freakin’ shoe. Let that sink in.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) July 2, 2019
TheBlaze’s resident ranting-alone-in-the-car guy Graham Allen begged that people in the United States “for ONE DAY Attempt to be Americans and be PROUD especially during the 4th of July!”
Can we just for ONE DAY Attempt to be Americans and be PROUD especially during the 4th of July!
The day we became America?!
— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) July 2, 2019
Dennis Prager’s PragerU social media team wrote that Nike, “Just blew it,” making fun of the company’s “Just do it” slogan.
.@Nike. Just blew it.
‘Like’ if you stand with the American flag! pic.twitter.com/yAbQCQlhjB
— PragerU (@prageru) July 2, 2019