Calls to boycott Nike gained traction online on Tuesday when Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) encouraged others to #WalkAwayFromNike in a Twitter post after the athletic gear giant dropped an American flag-style shoe, apparently at the behest of famed anthem-kneeling former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“I love America. I stand for the anthem, respect the flag & honor the men & women who fought to defend our Nation,” Cruz posted on Tuesday morning. “I respect Free Speech & I’m exerting mine: until [Nike] ends its contempt for those values, I WILL NO LONGER PURCHASE NIKE PRODUCTS.”
“#WalkAwayFromNike [retweet] if you agree,” added the senator.
Cruz was captioning his own post from a day earlier, which said in part: “It’s a good thing [Nike] only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag.”
As of Tuesday evening, the tweet has garnered nearly 10,000 retweets and some 19,000 likes.
As previously reported by The Daily Wire, “The Betsy Ross Flag" edition shoe was cancelled by Nike when Kaepernick reportedly complained about the new sneaker design, dubbing them “offensive.” The former 49er signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with the massive company last year, sparking its own wave of controversy.
The shoe protested by Kaepernick included a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle on the heel of the sneaker, “a design created during the American Revolution and commonly referred to as the Betsy Ross flag,” reported The Wall Street Journal. As noted by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, Kaepernick claimed he was taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games to protest police brutality and racial injustices; but his apparent disgust with the American flag-style shoe indicates he was indeed protesting the flag.
Following the lead of Mr. Cruz, others online joined in, detailing their displeasure with Nike and vowing to steer clear of their products.
“Ted, you're right! In sane American, regardless of politics, should #WalkAwayFromNike ....what an idiotic disgrace!” radio host Michael Medved agreed.
“Nike pulling your shoes with the Betsy Ross flag marginalizes the contribution of iconic America women. I stand for the values our flag represent. #walkawayfromnike,” one woman wrote.
“Nike has become ridiculous. There are plenty of clothing companies that don’t get mixed up with identity politics,” another user said. “Dump Nike stock and clothes. #walkawayfromnike.”
“[Nike] this is the guy [you’re] listening to,” another Twitter user highlighted, captioning a screenshot of Kaepernick’s practice socks, which showcase pigs in cop hats.
In response to the controversial Nike move, Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Tuesday morning that his state would be withdrawing financial incentives promised to Nike.
“Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours,” Ducey said via Twitter. "I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here. Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history.”
Grassroots organization FreedomWorks called on Nike CEO Mark Parker to unify Americans, rather than dividing us.
“Rather than deepening the political divide in America, FreedomWorks calls upon Nike CEO Mark Parker to bring together outside voices who have defended our nation’s values and begin a dialogue that brings us together, rather than driving us further apart,” FreedomWorks told The Daily Wire in a statement on Tuesday.
“I'm sure Nike thinks this move makes great business sense, but you cannot put a price-tag on core American values that so many have paid the ultimate price to defend. It's time for Nike to put the shoes back on the shelves and stop disrespecting our nation's history,” the organization added.