‘We find Mr. Kaepernick’s views to be ill-informed and offensive, especially to veterans and others who have served this country…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A coalition of African–American pastors blasted Nike for siding with Colin Kaepernick and urged the corporation to cut ties with the controversial former NFL athlete.
In an open letter to Nike president and CEO Mark Parker, the Coalition of African American Pastors urged Nike to “stand up for America” after it decided to pull a sneaker that featured a Betsy Ross flag.
Kaepernick suggested to the company that the flag would be offensive because it was created in an era of slavery.
“Many of us marched in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and have an established record of civic activism,” said the coalition. “… 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.”
Quite to the contrary, they said, the unpatriotic displays by the former NFL quarterback were a slap in the face to black Americans who had fought for the U.S., among others.
“[W]e find Mr. Kaepernick’s views to be ill-informed and offensive, especially to veterans and others who have served this country,” the CAAP wrote.
The pastors went on to say that Nike had allowed Kaepernick to taint its image.
“If this is not the case, we urge you to make it clear that you respect the American flag, its people, and its Founders,” they said. “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 Besty Ross shoes for the benefit of veterans groups and organizations that help military families.”
Kaepernick’s social activism first came into the spotlight three years ago, when the San Francisco 49ers signal caller began kneeling during the national anthem.
He was later benched for performance reasons and declined to renew his contract, but after failing to secure another QB role he sued the NFL, blaming racism within the league for his persecution. It later settled with him for an undisclosed amount.