Jul 5, 2019

Is the 'racist trainer' controversy good for Nike?

Ahead of Independence Day, Nike has withdrawn a pair of special edition trainers because they allegedly feature racist symbolism. Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback and face of Nike's Just Do It campaign, apparently told the sportswear giant that the flag is offensive because it is associated with an era of widespread slavery in the US. Others reportedly raised concerns with Nike. Arizona's governor Doug Ducey has rescinded a $1m grant for Nike to build a new factory; senator Ted Cruz has said he will never buy a pair of the company's trainers ever again; and senate majority leader Mitch McConnell declared: "If we're in a political environment where the American flag has become controversial to Americans, I think we've got a problem." Richard Haigh, managing director at the consultancy Brand Finance, reckons that with the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July trainers, Nike "Seems to have put their foot in it". While Nike asked retailers to return the special edition trainers, some managed to make it into the outside world with people bidding more than $2,000 for a pair online.

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