"Words matter. Symbols matter, too," Dyson told MSNBC host Hallie Jackson when she asked about concerns over political correctness.
"Why don't we wear a swastika for July 4th? Because, I don't know, it makes a difference," he said. "The cross burning on somebody's lawn. Why don't we just have a Nike celebration of the cross — those symbols are symbols of hate. So we can take PC culture back."
Dyson's comments came amid controversy over Nike's decision to halt the release of shoes bearing the Betsy Ross American flag, which flew during the Revolutionary War. The company worried that the flag could "unintentionally offend" people, after controversial football player Colin Kaepernick expressed concern over the design.
The Nike controversy harkened back to a similar cultural battle that Kaepernick provoked when he refused to stand for the National Anthem. While some accused him of disrespecting the American flag, Kaepernick maintained his protest was against systemic racism in the U.S.
The Betsy Ross flag flew as part of the scene for former President Barack Obama's inauguration, something the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., pointed out on Twitter.
But according to Dyson, the flag was offensive because the nation's founding was "deeply embroiled in .. the owners of slaves -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the like -- but also it's the recent use of this flag," Dyson said. He went on to claim that white supremacists used the flag as a "rallying cry."
When Jackson asked Dyson about reclaiming the flag from white supremacist groups, Dyson argued that Republicans had failed to do so. "That would be beautiful. I don't hear anything coming from the right about that," he said.