House Republicans trolled former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Tuesday following the U.S. Women’s soccer team’s semifinal win over England.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) account posted a GIF of the famed anthem-kneeler tossing a weak interception returned for a touchdown, adding the caption: “Good luck to [U.S. Women’s National Team]! Win this one for one of America’s first strong, independent women, Betsy Ross. We have no doubt you’ll be more competitive on the field than [Colin Kaepernick]. #USA #USAvENG.”
The Betsy Ross nod from the Republican account was a reference to Kaepernick’s latest controversy: reportedly killing Nike’s "Betsy Ross Flag" edition shoe after he complained that it was “offensive.” The former 49er who famously knelt during the national anthem before football games signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with the athletic gear giant last year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Nike sneakers 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.”
Notably, a star player on the U.S. Women's soccer team, Megan Rapinoe, has refused to put her hand over her heart during the playing of the national anthem as an "F you" to President Donald Trump, The Daily Wire has previously reported.
Criticism for Nike, and by extension Kaepernick, has reached the halls of the Senate, too.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) ripped the corporation as “anti-American” in a string of tweets posted to his account on Tuesday.
"Nike thinks American flag is symbol of oppression? What planet are you on? Nike gladly allows Chinese Communist Party to tell it what products to sell while building its business around sweatshop labor. Nike is anti-American, pure & simple,” wrote the Republican.
“Nike is a symbol of everything wrong with the corporate economy. They take advantage of our laws but send jobs overseas for sweatshop wages, partner w repressive regimes, aggressively avoid paying any US taxes, and then tell Americans to shut up and buy their stuff,” Hawley continued in subsequent tweets, adding: “Nike should apologize to Americans for denigrating the flag. They should apologize to Missourians who lost loved ones defending the flag. And they should restart production of the Betsy Ross shoe at their facility in St Charles, MO.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) similarly ridiculed Nike’s latest move, calling on others to join the #WalkAwayFromNike boycott.
“I love America. I stand for the anthem, respect the flag & honor the men & women who fought to defend our Nation. I respect Free Speech & I’m exerting mine: until [Nike] ends its contempt for those values, I WILL NO LONGER PURCHASE NIKE PRODUCTS,” Cruz wrote in a tweet posted on Tuesday morning. “#WalkAwayFromNike [retweet] if you agree.”