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Pardon my patriotism

Colin Kaepernick and Nike's Betsy Ross shoes

Colin Kaepernick and Nike’s Betsy Ross shoes

In recent days we’ve seen a big flap about Nike’s almost-introduction of its patriotic Betsy Ross shoes. It seems the Betsy Ross flag was offensive to Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who was essentially black-balled after he started kneeling during the national anthem. For reasons I’ve never fully understood, Nike hired him last year to be their spokesman (no doubt it had to do with money and an effort to appeal to certain segments of the population).

Kaepernick did a quick thumbs down on the Betsy Ross flag because it was created while slavery still existed in the US. He said the design is associated with racism and slavery. And, letting the tail wag the dog, Nike quickly pulled the shoes.

The Betsy Ross flag was made in 1776. The Stars and Stripes (with the arrangement of the stars undefined) was adopted as our official national flag in 1777.

Any day now, someone will be demanding we replace today’s Stars and Stripes with something “less offensive.”




  1. Betsy Ross was a raised as a strict Quaker. Because of her mixed denominational marriage she was read out by her home community, but she joined the local Free Quakers congregation who as Quakers could not fight but could support the Revolutionary War effort by providing mattresses, clothing, flags. She was an upholsterer by trade. Before 1600 many Quakers believed humans could not be owned and all men were equal. By mid 1700’s one could not belong to the Quaker association and own slaves.Quakers were one of the leading groups that fought to end slavery in Europe and in the colonies/US. Quakers persuaded Ben Franklin to bring up a proposal to ban slavery when the Continental Congress was meeting.
    She was a role model for women and quite an admirable person, NIKE.

    A large company let some wanna-be celeb and ex football player dictate what they can do? Absurd (although the company did also bow to China’s demands to remove a Hong Kong designer’s signature NIKE shoe because the designer made a comment against Chinese oppression)

    Would be nice to return to products staying neutral about politics.

    Much applause for this post.

    • He’s a former NFL football player, the first to start kneeling during the national anthem to protest the treatment of blacks in America. He and those who followed his example won no points from me.

  2. I’m not sure what the guidance is now, but when I was in the USN, we were instructed that the flag symbolized our free country and the spirit of the Declaration and the Constitution. It was a firm rule that the stars and stripes must be respected for that symbolism and therefore not be publicly disrespected, as in wearing it as clothing. Kaepernick is wrong to misinterpret that early flag’s meaning because it meant freedom and independence from tyrants much more than its loose association with the culture of its time.

    • Most Americans don’t have to have been in the service to know they should respect the flag. That respect is also taught in schools. If Kaepernick can’t respect our national flag in any and all of its many forms, if he finds any or all of our flags offensive, I encourage him to find a country where he won’t have to see them.

Now that I've had my say ...

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