For those of us who are still upset with the decision of Nike to pull sneakers showing the Betsy Ross flag, there is now an alternative from a competitor. Brooks Running shoes has launched a limited-edition Old Glory Collection shoe emblazoned with American flag-inspired style. As someone who has worn Brooks for years, I do not have to change but many are likely to do so. Nike left a lasting and indelible stain on its company for many Americans. Nike made a calculated decision to curry favor with Nike embraced Colin Kaepernick and his supporters by showing disrespect to this national symbol. For those who are enraged by Nike’s decision, the Brooks line reminds us that there are other shoe companies and some are less craven in their business decisions.
As I have stated earlier, I was flabbergasted by the decision of Nike to pull sneakers showing the early American flag because Kaepernick found it offensive. Supporters of Kaepernick has insisted that the flag is now a symbol of white supremacists. I do not know about the adoption by white supremacists but I am familiar with the flag being used by prior protesters ranging from Civil Rights marchers to anti-Vietnam activists as well as displayed at events like President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Even, the Anti-Defamation League added its voice in saying that “We view it as essentially an innocuous historical flag. It’s not a thing in the white supremacist movement.” None of that deterred Nike who decided to go “all in” with Kaepernick in destroying the shoes.
Nike could be right. Many Americans may care less about the decision or the symbol. Many of us do however and only time will tell what lasting damage has been done to the Nike brand.
What is interesting is that Brooks introduced the shoe towards the end of June – just before competitor Nike canceled the release of its “Betsy Ross flag” sneakers. The company however did not demand the return of all of the shoes so that they can be destroyed to satisfy Colin Kaepernick’s sensibilities.
In case you are shopping, here is one of the many sites for “The Old Glory Launch 6.”