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The Savage Truth: Nike shoes and presidential tanks

What’s red, white, and blue, has 13 stars and is yanked from the marketplace?
Credit: 13WMAZ
Randall Savage column

What’s red, white and blue, has 13 stars and is yanked from the marketplace?

How about the Betsy Ross shoes that Nike plugged as the company’s star-spangled kickoff for its Fourth of July sales at businesses and sports shops around the United States.

RELATED: Reports: Nike pulls shoe with Betsy Ross American flag at Kaepernick's urging

Nike, defined by Google as an “American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services…” loved the Betsy Ross Shoes until Colin Kaepernick trashed them.

Kaepernick allegedly told the Nike brass that he and many others consider the Betsy Ross shoes offensive because they were emblazoned with a Betsy Ross flag, which was created during the slavery era.

The Betsy Ross flag was the United States flag from June 14, 1777 until May 1, 1795. It’s a popular item for some people today. 

A T-shirt with the flag and its history can be purchased from Café Press for $14.99. A Betsy Ross throw rug Is available for $200. Buyers consider those items memorable paraphernalia depicting a page in the nation’s history.

Others, including Kaepernick, see the Betsy Ross flag and conjure up images of the country’s racist past. They also envision modern groups like the Ku Klux Klan waving Betsy Ross flags at their white supremacist rallies.

Kaepernick’s assessment resonated with Nike officials. They pulled the shoes from the retail outlets and issued the following statement to news outlets: “Nike made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”

While Nike’s get-them-out-of-there decision may have pleased Kaepernick and others sharing his beliefs, it also rankled some of the nation’s high-ranking political figures.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, lashed out at Nike for kowtowing to the political gadfly who spawned kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem at professional football games.

“If we’re in a political environment where the American flag has become controversial to Americans, I think we’ve got a problem,” McConnell told reporters for a Kentucky newspaper. “I hope Nike either release these shoes or some other shoe maker picks up the flag, puts it on a pair of shoes and starts selling it. I’ll make the first order.”

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a former presidential candidate and Texas Republican, also scolded Nike for yanking the Betsy Ross shoe off the market.

“I own lots of Nike, I’ve been a lifelong customer, since I was kid,” Cruz tweeted. “But they’ve now decided their shoes represent snide disdain for the American flag. Since they don’t want my business anymore, I won’t buy any more. Can anyone recommend a good sneaker co that’s not so woke?”

Before yanking it off the market, Nike listed $140 as its suggested retail price for the Air Max 1 Quick Strike. But the controversy pushed the product into shoe collector’s paradise. They were reaping $2,500 a pair on a clothing site the next day.

President Donald Trump hasn’t commented on the Nike shoe crisis, but he is bringing tanks and other military hardware to the capitol to highlight a Fourth of July parade.That presidential parade provided its own squabble.

RELATED: Tanks will be part of July Fourth DC celebration, Trump says

Attaching a pair of Nike’s condemned sneakers to the lead tank could blend humor into the controversies.