Perhaps Nike could change their name from Nike (“Victory”) to Ētta (“Defeat”), as they have been routed in the culture war. If you missed it, for Independence Day 2019, the company launched a new range of trainers, the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, with the Betsy Ross flag on them – and were then accused of racism, and immediately withdrew the range, and were then accused of being unpatriotic and lost a $1 million subsidy and the respect of millions of customers.
A single accusation of possible racism caused the whole range to be pulled, at a loss to the company we can only imagine. Into this stepped Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona, not in a formal address but (in the modern style) in a series of Tweets:
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike. Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism”.
In retaliation for this slur against the United States, the Governor withdrew a state subsidy that was to help Nike develop a factory in Goodyear, Arizona. From our side of the pond it is hard to imagine a politician not siding in terror with the Cultural Marxists, but here is the Governor of Arizona punished the company for rolling over to the mob. That is sturdy resolve we do not see amongst British politicians.
Now Nike is facing a boycott by American patriots.
The BBC report was its usual one, accepting the accusation of racism without demur: of the Betsy Ross flag they wrote “Although opinion is divided over its origins, the flag was later adopted for use by the American Nazi party.” and give prominence to a picture of an American Nazi rally in the 1950s where it appeared. They say the alt-right have used it too. Truly, the BBC are incurable. (The only divisions of opinion on the flag are not political; just whether Elizabeth Ross herself designed it and whether Washington had a hand in it.)
My first reactions to the story were surprise: first that a politician has not rolled over to the first whiff of accusation, and secondly that one of the richest companies in the world, which sells sneakers to the poorest at hundreds of dollars a pair, lives off taxpayer subsidies. In America they have name for that: ‘corporate welfare’.
A passing word too for those boycotting Nike; good for you. Perhaps you could help us in Britain to organise boycotts of companies here who bow before a handful social justice warriors with laptops and nought else.
It is not of course that protesters are actually offended, just pretending to be offended, unless the offence is just that someone has different priorities from theirs. They are not offended: they want power over those companies. As this site noted before on this:
The Betsy Ross flag, for those unfamiliar with our colonial cousins, was the first independent flag of the new United States, or the most famous version of it, in a pattern first sewn (according to some accounts) by Betsy Ross of Philadelphia. The canton of the flag has a ring of thirteen stars, for the thirteen newly independent colonies. It has been used in patriotic celebrations ever since it first flew during the War of Independence and is a common display on Independence Day. We will not see it disappearing: it appears each 4th July, and at Presidential inaugurations, including that of Barack Obama, who was not exactly alt-right.
The proof it the inherent racism in the flag was a photograph showing the American Nazi Party displaying it at a rally in the 1950s, beside a vast icon of George Washington. That the flag has been used by millions of Americans of all opinions, religions and races over two hundred years is weighed as nothing when a Nazi purloins it.
(I shall have to hide my collection of Beethoven in that case, as Hitler was a fan, and swear never again to eat pickled cabbage for the same reason. The latter is no hardship.)
What now for Nike / Ētta? A single expression of concern that need not have gone beyond the company’s wall has left them looking cowardly, which is not a good look in sportswear, has cost them $1 million in corporate welfare, millions more in losing the sales of goods they had already made and marketed, and now they are facing a consumer boycott. Mighty as you may be, never think to yourself ἀνίκητος εἶ ὦ παῖ.
- The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great, by Ben Shapiro
- Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth, by Ben Shapiro
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell
- Black Rednecks & White Liberals, by Thomas Sowell
- The History of the First United States Flag, and the Patriotism of Betsy Ross, the Heroine That Originated the First Flag of the Union, by J Franklin Reigart and Prof Elizabeth Ross