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African-American pastors’ Nike petition

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Will Nike flinch or listen?

Mark Parker
President/CEO
Nike World Headquarters
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005

Dear Mr. Parker,

We, the undersigned, are people of faith and principle, united in our love for America and what it stands for. Many of us marched in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and have an established record of civic activism.

With that background, I hope you will understand how dismayed we were to learn that your company decided to “pull” a specially-designed shoe that celebrated America’s independence and the Betsy Ross flag. It has been reported that you made this decision based on objections from Colin Kaepernick, a celebrity activist and former professional athlete who has become the “face” of your brand.

We represent a variety of races, ethnicities, and creeds. And we agree that Mr. Kaepernick’s views on America and the flag are fringe opinions, not shared by any of us … especially the African Americans who marched against segregation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In fact, we find Mr. Kaepernick’s views to be ill-informed and offensive, especially to veterans and others who have served this country.

Mr. Kaepernick does not represent us. Moreover, he has tainted our view of your brand. Removing the Betsy Ross flag shoes at his behest implies that your company shares his negative view of America, its founders, and the woman who designed the first flag.

How can we purchase merchandise for ourselves or our families from a company that holds those views of our country?

If this is not the case, we urge you to make it clear that you respect the American flag, its people, and its Founders. We ask that you sever your relationship with Mr. Kaepernick, who has become synonymous with radical anti-American sentiment. And we ask that you make amends to veterans by producing a select run of the Besty Ross shoes for the benefit of veterans groups and organizations that help military families.

For a long time, sport has been something that brings Americans together. Nike has been one of the companies we associate with “Team USA.” Please don’t tarnish that legacy by continuing to cater to anti-American politics.

Sincerely,

Rev. Bill Owens

President, Coalition of African American Pastors

Link to petition here