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  • Black Pastors to Nike: Drop Kaepernick Connection, Restore the Betsy Ross Flag Shoes

    Surge Summary: A group of black clergy have confronted Nike, urging them to distance themselves from Colin Kaepernick and bring back the shoe design they discontinued in answer to his objection. 

    A group of courageous black pastors has spoken out, demanding Nike sever ties with football player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick over his political views, calling for the popular sportswear brand to reinstate its Betsy Ross flag shoes — the product the company discontinued after Kaepernick complained they were inappropriate, a throwback to the slave era.

    The Henderson, Nevada-based Coalition of African-American Pastors condemned the former quarterback’s thoughts as too far on the fringe for a company like Nike, adding that his accusations represent “radical anti-American sentiment.”

    The Blaze’s Sarah Taylor writes,

    Published in the Commercial Appeal, the statement — penned by Coalition President Rev. Bill Owens — demanded the company make the Betsy Ross flag shoes available for the public to purchase.

    “Removing the Betsy Ross flag shoes at his behest implies that your company shares his negative view of America, its founders, and the woman who designed the first flag,” a portion of the statement read. “… For a long time, sport has been something that brings Americans together. Nike has been one of the companies we associate with ‘Team USA.’ Please don’t tarnish that legacy by continuing to cater to anti-American policies.”

    Owens’ letter added, “Many of us marched in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and have an established record of civic activism. We represent a variety of races, ethnicities, and creeds. And we agree that Mr. Kaepernick’s views on America and the flag are fringe opinions, not shared by any of us … especially the African Americans who marched against segregation with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, we find Mr. Kaepernick’s views to be ill-informed and offensive, especially to veterans and others who have served this country.”

    Owens also pointed out that Nike is tainting itself by its affiliation with such “fringe opinions” and Kaepernick.

    Conveying counsel to the Corporation that is ambitious but also civil and reasonable, Owens said,

    “How can we purchase merchandise for ourselves or our families from a company that holds those views of our country?” Owens’ letter added. “If this is not the case, we urge you to make it clear that you respect the American flag, its people, and its Founders. We ask that you sever your relationship with Mr. Kaepernick, who has become synonymous with radical anti-American sentiment. And we ask that you make amends to veterans by producing a select run of the Betsy Ross shoes for the benefit of the veteran[’s] groups and organizations that help military families.”

    In the Commercial Appeal interview, Owens added that the letter — which is to serve as a petition to Nike and its CEO — was favorably received by his board.

    “We just don’t feel that it was fair that they would pull this flag because [Kaepernick] opposed it. … [He] opposes a lot of things. We love this country, we love the flag, and we love most things about this country, whereas there are some people who just find something to complain about anything.”

    … thus, reminding us political opinion among African-Americans and African -American leaders is not monolithic. These clergymen deserve respect for bucking the stereotype of black leaders as reflexively liberal, instead standing publicly and outspokenly for what they believe. And their views, to be sure, are shared by many Americans, whatever their skin color.

    Image: Screen Shot: Outside the Lines; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyPzkVnzru0


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