You would think that the July 4 holiday would be relatively non-controversial. I mean, what could be bad about gaining independence from the King of England and establishing the representative type government since ancient Greece (though, no doubt it was not inclusive of all of the people of the country but certainly more so than a monarchy)?
But, alas, Nike does not think so. Nike was planning on releasing a shoe in honor of Independence Day with the ‘Betsy Ross’ flag–the first flag of the United States and the thirteen original colonies on it–on the shoe. After consulting with Colin Kaepernick, their celebrity endorser (who they pay a reportedly oppressive $5 million/year), because slavery existed in the US at the time and so that shoe would clearly be a sign of oppression. Nike changed its mind.
Now, let’s start by reminding ourselves that Colin Kaeperick talks about oppression in the US while wearing a t-shirt with a picture Fidel Castro, the dictator and mass murderer of Cuba, or at least in one of his press conferences did so. Which means that he is obviously not the brightest bulb in the proverbial pack . And, of course, the $5 million a year that he gets from Nike to go and tell people how oppressed he is, is more than anyone in the whole country of Cuba gets unless your last name is ‘Castro’.
Though this is a bit of ‘old news’ at this point, it’s worth noting, in part because Kaepernick (and his supporters) always claimed that his protest wasn’t a lack of respect for the flag but to protest police bias and oppression. Of course, this example shows that it is about the flag and every flag of the United States, even those 250 years old.
And it again shows the lack of thought upon which his actions are based. One, that flag is one of a country that had the most representative government in the world at the time. Certainly slavery was wrong, and at the time women couldn’t vote. But the percent of the population who had a say in their government was more than anywhere else in the world and more than any place in human history for hundreds of years.
Two, is he really arguing-as he seems to be-that any representation of any country with bad things (such as slavery) in its history should be wiped from any representation…or maybe wiped from any history at all? That would be an interesting dilemma, wouldn’t it? That describes almost every country or ethnic group there is, from Japan and China to all of Africa to Europe, the United States and Central and South America. Today, there are still slaves in parts of Africa, and in radical Muslim held areas (ISIS and similar groups) of North Africa and the small areas of the Middle East that they still control. Literally every part of the world, has mass oppression and slavery in its history. Not to say that is ok or right, but its history and it just….is. And not to say that we shouldn’t try to do better with treating people equitably, but that still doesn’t change history.
Some political correct people, and companies like Nike who are concerned about those who work hard to be offended, will always find something wrong. Of course-because our country nor its people are perfect. But getting upset about a 250 year old flag that is a symbol of American independence and the first representative government in the world is a bit silly. Grow up.
Or…if it’s really that much better in Cuba Mr Kaepernick, put your money where you say your principles are and use some of the $5 million/year that Nike pays you and help as many people as want to go emigrate to Havana.