News and Commentary

Nike May Think The ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ Is Racist, But Look Who Flew It

After former San Francisco quarterback and Nike endorser Colin Kaepernick complained about an American-themed Betsy Ross flag adorning a new Nike shoe, reportedly saying he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag was an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery, Nike capitulated, pulling the shoe from production. The Wall Street Journal reported, “After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery …”

On Wednesday, social media pointed out something to Nike that they either ignored or were unwilling to acknowledge: the famed flag, which featured 13 white stars in a circle to represent the thirteen original American colonies, was flown at former President Barack Obama’s 2nd inaugural.

That precipitated a host of comments from conservatives:

Donald Trump Jr.: “Weird that no one had a problem with The Betsy Ross Flag when it flew over Obama’s inauguration. Now it’s not patriotic… ok got it.”

Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner: “Attention Nike: The flag Colin Kaepernick told you was unacceptable on your shoes was displayed rather prominently at Barack Obama’s inauguration.”

Guy Benson from Fox News: “It ‘fell out of fashion’ with a small group of loud, disproportionately influential Woke Olympians. I suspect it’ll be back in fashion among many Americans as an anti-PC totem.”

Steve Deace from Blaze TV: “Truly amaze-balls to learn America’s first black President not only had a racist VP for eight years, but now he proudly flew the flag of white supremacists.”

In September 2016, a student waved a flag supporting Donald Trump as he joined other students waving a Betsy Ross 13-star flag at a Grand Rapids, Michigan, high school football game, chanting “USA.” That prompted one parent to claim the flag had been appropriated by white supremacy groups, adding the flag-waving “left a lot of members of my community unsettled … Your team, your coaches, your families were our guests, yet it seems many of your students are unaware of the negative impact these actions would have on members of our community in our home field,” according to MLive.

Although it has long been debated whether or not Betsy Ross actually created the “Betsy Ross flag,” the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation notes, “Congress recognized that the new nation needed a flag. On June 14, 1777, it passed the country’s first flag law. As legislation goes, it was refreshingly brief: ‘Resolved. That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.’”

The Foundation adds:

We probably will never know who made the first flag. We do, however, have a good idea about who originated its design. Credit for that achievement may go to Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey representative to the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Hopkinson was a talented man with a strong interest in designing symbols. He played a role in creating the Great Seal of the United States, the Continental Board of Admiralty seal, treasury seal, and American currency. Documents also show that he worked on the first official United States flag.