Veteran tears into Kaepernick after Nike pulls ‘racist’ American flag shoes

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While Nike has not officially announced it, Colin Kaepernick has been named the Executive Vice President of the Strategic Planning for Product Development and Placement Division.

His first corporate decision was to recall all the Nike Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July shoes. Why? This shoe, which was nicknamed the Betsy Ross Flag sneaker, has an American flag on the back. To be more specific, it has the original American flag, as credited to Betsy Ross for the design.

Veteran tears into Kaepernick after Nike pulls 'racist' American flag shoes
Kaepernick stated that the original Betsy Ross flag is racist. (Wikipedia)

 

Kaepernick said that Nike should not use that version of the flag, as “he and others consider it an offensive symbol due to its connection to a time when slavery was legal.”

Ironically, Kaepernick is better known for being the individual that started the ‘kneeling’ movement in the NFL that has now spread to other sports (see below for more on Megan Rapinoe), than for anything he actually did on the field.

So, let me get this straight. The patriotic shoes that Nike was trying to launch before Independence Day cannot use the original flag, because Kaepernick says it is connected to slavery. Obviously, they cannot use the current version with 50 stars, because he does not recognize that flag as being worthy enough to stand for, as it represents oppression of minorities. I wonder if the versions that had 13, 15, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 37 or 38 stars would work? Probably not. What about the ones that had 43, 44, 45, 46, 48 or 49? Nah, I am sure that he could come up with a reason why those versions won’t work either. Maybe the version with 34 stars, as it was the one flying when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

 

Perhaps they could incorporate the original flag as used by the settling colonists, the Grand Union flag. It was plain and simple. 13 red and white stripes, and no stars. Instead, it had the Union Jack where our current field of blue resides. Oh, wait… that won’t work either. England didn’t abolish slavery until 1833, long after we stopped using the Grand Union flag. In fact, in 1833 we had 24 stars on the flag.

You know, come to think of it, perhaps we should ban the concept of patriotism altogether. We should just stop referring to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. After all, they were written in a time where slavery was legal.

Maybe we should get rid of everything associated with that era of American history…

Give me a break.

Listen, I am not making light of the plague that was slavery. It was a travesty to humanity. It should have never happened. I am in no way mocking the atrocities and suffering that rained down on hundreds of thousands of people. I am mocking people like Colin Kaepernick, who think that they get to dictate to the greater society in this country, what can and cannot be acceptable, when it comes to our patriotism.

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Kaepernick is right about one thing. That first flag sewn by Betsy Ross, and every US flag since, is symbolic. Symbolic of the founding of the greatest nation on earth. Symbolic of the fight to get out from under the tyrannical rule of the King of England. Symbolic of the men who died to ensure the very freedom that makes this nation great. Symbolic of the sacrifices made that continues to provide this nation its freedoms. 

NFL letter
(Photo courtesy Keith Allison)

 

Yet we have people who do not grasp that individual liberties do not extend into the representation of others. Much like the kneelers in the NFL didn’t grasp that once you put on the team’s uniform, you are no longer speaking for yourself – you are speaking for an entire group of people. Employers have the absolute right to limit your freedom of speech when you are acting as a representative of said employer.

What about when you are a representative of the entire nation?  Megan Rapinoe, a captain on the US Women’s National Team, began kneeling for the National Anthem during USWNT matches. The governing body then deemed that players must remain standing for the anthem and honor the flag. So, she stands. But she will not put her hand on her heart. She does not sing. She has said that she probably never will again. She calls the rule a backwards one.

“I will probably never put my hand over my heart,” she told Yahoo Sports. “ I will probably never sing the national anthem again.”

Yet, ironically, she has no problem getting paid to wear that flag in her uniform. She has no problem getting paid to represent our entire nation.

But in the Yahoo Sports interview, she specifically lashed out at the Trump Administration for what she called its failure to “value all Americans equally.” Rapinoe described the U.S. as suffering from an epidemic of “atrocities … extreme poverty … homelessness … mass incarceration … discrimination against people of color, and police brutality.”

 

Ultimately, Megan Rapinoe said she does not sing the national anthem because she is “a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration,” and because her silence is emblematic of “everything I stand for.”

So, her issue is the Trump Administration and what she believes is their inability to represent all Americans. Her issue is a political one. In an ironic twist, between 53% and 57% of Americans (depending on the poll) feel that the anthem protests are inappropriate. Hypocrisy much?

Listen, the great thing about this nation is that you don’t have to agree with, or even like, the person in the office of the President of the United States. I didn’t particularly care for the previous one. But during his 8 years in office, I still stood when the National Anthem was played. I still stood at parades when the colors passed by. I still said things to people who didn’t stand or didn’t remove their hats.

I still do the same now that President Trump is in office. And I will continue to do so no matter who comes next. Why? Because I am a FREAKING AMERICAN!! That is what we do. I love this country. I fought to defend her, and if given the opportunity to do it again, I would.

 

We do not live in a perfect country. We live in a country that is filled with imperfect people. I do understand that not everyone is treated the same in this country. There are still racists, bigots and sexists. But the flag and our anthem are not representative of that. There are other ways to raise awareness to the injustices you believe are worth fighting for. So, don’t be surprised, Colin and Megan, if I don’t sympathize with you while you continue to disrespect my country, my flag and my anthem.

But for now, even though I am not a fan of Nike in general, I am going to see if I can find a store that hasn’t returned the Air Fourth of July’s and see if they will still sell me a pair, cause I love the original banner with its 13 stars and 13 stripes. Why? Because I am an American.

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Veteran tears into Kaepernick after Nike pulls 'racist' American flag shoes

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