“It’s not the crime; it’s the cover up.”
Richard Nixon came to define that phrase after covering up the Watergate burglary, but there are countless examples where a person’s reaction to a given situation had far greater impact than the event itself.
With that in mind, let’s review the recent controversy where Nike pulled a line of sneakers with the American flag logo. Doing so would have been unfathomable just a few years ago, but since we are in a “nothing-surprises-me-anymore” mode, the importance of what transpired pales in comparison to what, if anything, the American people will do about it.
Nike nixed the release of a sneaker - timed for Independence Day - that featured the 13-star Betsy Ross American flag. It wasn’t due to a manufacturing defect, but because washed up former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick cried foul, stating that it was offensive since slavery existed in America during the time that flag flew. He also said that some white supremacist groups display the flag as one of their symbols - yet since when do we automatically cede our hallowed symbols to a few extremists trying to co-opt them?
Just in case you missed that “logic,” let’s review: The company shelved sneakers because its crybaby “ambassador,” looking for the slightest semblance of relevance, whined, yet again, that he was offended by perceived racial issues. But instead of his trademark kneeling for the National Anthem, he’s now taken it much further (or, more accurately, taken it “backwards”), lashing out because our country’s history isn’t perfect. His intended objective can only be to whitewash history so completely that future generations will have no knowledge whatsoever of our past, which, ironically, is the single worst way for a society to move forward.
In other words, Nike and Kaepernick, in lockstep with the intolerant left, are judging events of 250 years ago by today’s standards. Given that, they have a lot of work to do. The Jefferson Memorial needs to be demolished, Washington, D.C. needs to be renamed, and, ultimately, our Constitution shredded, since Jefferson and Washington - both slave owners - signed that document during a time of slavery.
Hate to rain on Kaepernick’s parade, but his ignorance and hypocrisy are more staggering than usual and that’s saying something.
First, Betsy Ross was a Quaker, and Quakers were opposed to slavery.
She was also an abolitionist. Maybe that’s too big of a word for Colin, but it means she wanted slavery abolished. Ross was also from Pennsylvania, where slavery had been outlawed. Noticeably absent from Kaepernick’s spiel was the admission that some of the biggest slave traders were, in fact, blacks. Finally, it’s not without irony that the Confederate flag, which has been under withering attack lately, was defeated by forces representing an expanded version of Betsy Ross’ Stars and Stripes. Yet Kaepernick and his ilk, whose freedom and wealth directly result from Old Glory, see fit to turn their backs on it.
And what about those states where slavery was legal? Funny one should ask. Yes, slavery was legal in the south, but it was also, at one point, legal in all 13 colonies. In fact, many of the north’s most prestigious universities were founded on the slave trade, such as Yale, Brown and Princeton.
But it clearly doesn’t matter to Kaepernick that slavery was extinguished in 1865. According to his thinking, once a slave state, always a slave state, so damnations and repercussions should be never-ending. Interestingly, however, Kaepernick never had a problem playing teams hailing from former slave states, or competing alongside teammates who attended slave trade schools. Where were his objections back then? And why didn’t we hear his (incessantly boring) diatribes at the time? Simply stated, he was too busy reaping millions from the very country that allowed him to become a superstar athlete. It was only after he was a has-been that he bothered to become an “activist.”
Just goes to show that all the money in the world can’t buy class.
And now to Nike. Many are fuming over the company’s action, bewildered as to why it would “kowtow” to the whims of a clueless Kaepernick.
Sorry, folks, but if you believe that, you’ve been had.
Nike didn’t kowtow, nor did it cave, overreact or make a rash judgment. It knew exactly what it was doing from the get-go.
You don’t hire the guy who started the National Anthem protests, and make him a company ambassador and star of a multi-million ad campaign, only to jettison him a year later. Nike chose to invest in Kaepernick and his racially based social-engineering agenda for a variety of reasons, so it clearly wasn’t going to be at odds with the person it effectively made the “new face” of the company.
Put another way, Nike’s decision to disrespect America’s flag and cast aspersions on its history was eminently predictable. It was a callously calculated business move - nothing more.
Truth be told, Nike’s value has increased since hiring Kaepernick, though that’s much more the result of a booming economy and rising stock market than it is Colin Kaepernick and his agenda. But perception is reality, and Nike’s perception is that it’s on the right course.
Nike is literally banking on the premise that millions of up-in-arms whites - many of whom are blustering on social media that they’ll “never buy Nike again” - will, in several weeks, completely forget about the “flag issue.” Translation: Due to a lack of staying power, few will boycott Nike or “burn Nike gear.”
Conversely, Nike is likely anticipating a bump in sales from black Americans based on the company’s support of Kaepernick.
And of course, what would America be without the entitled, offended-by-everything Millennials championing Nike and Kaepernick by jumping on board the protest-du-jour? Must be nice to be so utterly carefree about … everything.
This author normally eschews boycotts since that “weapon of choice” is often used inconsistently and for the wrong reasons. Case in point: The “offended” class is calling for a boycott of Home Depot because its co-founder contributed to Donald Trump’s campaign. Really? So people will jump to boycott because a businessman exercised his right of expression, but won’t pressure Nike to reverse a decision that trampled the American flag? When did it become in vogue to be so unpatriotic?
Nike can do as it pleases. But it’s extremely disheartening to watch companies shrug off their ethical responsibilities solely to pursue more almighty dollars. When is enough … enough?
Americans who believe Nike is out-of-bounds should flex their considerable economic muscle by writing op-eds, calling talk radio, making their views known on social media, contacting Nike directly, and yes, if need be, boycotting the company. In addition, well-funded groups should run national ad campaigns urging Nike to do the right thing. Finally, and most impactful, would be President Trump using his bully pulpit, especially during the campaign, to shame Nike for enflaming racial tensions in the name of Wall Street greed. Whether any of those things happen is anyone’s guess, but don’t hold your breath.
Unquestionably, had Nike pulled this stunt during the height of the Greatest Generation’s power, it would have reversed itself immediately. Truth is, knowing the will of the people, Nike never would have attempted to do so in the first place. Bottom line: You can tell a lot about a society when the majority doesn’t have the stomach for battle, or the stamina to see the most important things through.
If that attitude doesn’t change quickly, America’s greatest traits will disappear … in a swoosh.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can be reached at CF@FFZMedia.com Follow him on Twitter @chrisfreind.