Nike drew some controversy last fall when it announced that it was renewing the endorsement deal of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and producing a TV commercial featuring the controversial football player, per The Inquisitr.
The debut of the advertisement led some opposed to the quarterback to argue that the company had caused Nike’s stock to drop, costing the company billions. However, that drop turned out to be a temporary blip on the way to huge sales in the latter part of 2018. Per ABC News, Nike sales were “booming” in the fourth quarter of 2018, following the launch of Kaepernick’s “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” campaign.
Now, not only is Kaepernick still a Nike endorser, but a new report says he used his influence with the company in a way that’s likely going to set off a new round of controversy.
Per The Wall Street Journal, Nike was planning to release a special Fourth of July sneaker featuring Betsy Ross’ original 13-star American flag. However, Kaepernick “told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive,” the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Betsy Ross flag, from the era of the American Revolution, was objected to because slavery was still in effect at that time. Others, including journalist Adam Best, have pointed out on Twitter that white supremacists and white nationalists have been associating themselves with the 13-star flag of late.
Nike confirmed to the newspaper that the company “has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag.”
Kaepernick launched a campaign to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem during the preseason of the 2016 season, kneeling in protest of police brutality, racial inequality, and other social concerns. The protest was later joined by other NFL players, leading to a feud between the players and President Donald Trump.
The quarterback has not played in the NFL since 2016, and has filed a grievance against the NFL, arguing that they had colluded to keep him out. Kaepernick and the league reached a confidential settlement in February, per The Inquisitr.
Kaepernick was last seen attending an NBA Finals game and congratulating the Golden State Warriors on one of their victories, The Inquisitr reported at the time.
The story drew some negative attention.
“No more Nike sneakers for our family,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted Monday, after the story came out.