Republican lawmakers on Tuesday slammed Nike over its decision to nix the release of a sneaker that featured an old version of the American flag after Colin Kaepernick reportedly expressed concerns to company officials.
Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted their opinions over the Nike decision to scrap the release of the Air Max 1 USA which featured a Betsy Ross flag on the heel. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback expressed concerns to Nike officials that the use of the flag was offensive and carried slavery connotations, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“It’s a good thing @Nike only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag,” Cruz tweeted in response to The Wall Street Journal report.
He added that he was a lifelong Nike customer but vowed not to buy any more gear from them over the company’s latest decision.
“I won’t buy any more. Can anyone recommend a good sneaker co that’s not so woke?” Cruz tweeted.
Blackburn and Hawley both chimed in with their thoughts over the controversy.
“To the self absorbed football player who has a problem with the American flag, learn to show a little tolerance and a little respect. Grow up. You are not the center of the universe,” Blackburn tweeted.
Hawley tweeted: “Nike thinks American flag is symbol of oppression? What planet are you on? 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. Why do we put up with this?”
The lawmakers’ reaction comes as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced he was planning to pull Nike incentives that were going to be given to the company for building a plant in Goodyear, Ariz.
Nike planned to build a massive manufacturing plant in Goodyear, investing $184.5 million, according to ABC 15. The plant reportedly was going to create more than 500 jobs.
Goodyear agreed to waive nearly $1 million in plan review and permit fees to bring the plant into the city, The Arizona Republic reported. The city also planned to reimburse Nike $1 million for the jobs the company was set on creating.
Nike told Fox News and Fox Business in a statement: “Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag.”
Kaepernick, the former quarterback who famously kneeled during the National Anthem starting in 2016, was named as the face of Nike’s latest “Just Do It” campaign last year. After the announcement, Nike’s stock initially fell more than 3 percent, before online sales increased.
Fox News’ Liam Quinn contributed to this report.