Even though the 4th of July holiday has come and gone, the heated debate over Nike’s scrapping their Betsy Ross flag sneakers continues, with O.J Simpson joining the debate over the controversial shoes.
According to Complex, Tuesday, Simpson took to his social media to post a rambling vent about Nike’s decision and how NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick played a hand in getting the Independence Day-themed footware pulled off the market.
“Lately, I saw where Kaepernick pointed out that the Betsy Ross flag was being used by some negative groups as their symbol. I say don’t let the negative win. As far as I’m concerned, that flag represents the birth of America,” explained Simpson, 72.
Simpson is responding to reports that Kaepernick urged Nike to pull the Betsy Ross flag-adorned Air Max 1 because he and others found that version of the flag offensive “because of its connection to an era of slavery.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Nike had already delivered some of the sneakers to retail stores. Released photos of the shoe show a version of the American flag with 13 stripes and 13 stars arranged in a circle – the version of the American flag used in the United States from 1777 to 1795, which was squarely during the slavery era. Others however, have argued that it symbolizes patriotism and that it was sewn by Betsy Ross at the request of George Washington, although historians now dispute that. After Nike received complaints, the sneaker brand asked stores to return them.
Although several others are frustrated with Kaepernick, this is just the latest issue on Simpson’s ongoing list of problems with him. Last year, the former NFL running back, who became more widely known for his murder trial and exoneration, made similar dismissive comments about Kaepernick’s protest against the NFL.