John Steigerwald: In listening to Kaepernick, Nike shows its values are misplaced | TribLIVE.com
John Steigerwald, Columnist

John Steigerwald: In listening to Kaepernick, Nike shows its values are misplaced

John Steigerwald
1391332_web1_1124765-a85aeaf19b614db28791f58d82fbeb8c
AP
Colin Kaepernick attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibition on Monday, May 6, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
1391332_web1_ptr-NikeAirFlagB-070319
AP
Nike’s Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July shoe has been pulled from the market, after former NFL quarterback and Nike spokesman Colin Kaepernick raised concerns over the a version of the U.S. flag on the shoe could be offensive.

Colin Kaepernick lit a cherry bomb two days before Independence Day and disturbed what had been a pretty quiet beginning of the summer, if you don’t count the stupidity surrounding the U.S. women’s soccer team.

Kaepernick, who apparently majored in revisionist history at Nevada, decided to be offended by Nike’s use of the Betsy Ross flag on the back of a pair of shoes that were to be released around the Fourth of July.

He had apparently done a survey and found out that lots of revisionists had come to believe the flag was offensive “because of its connection to an era of slavery.”

Nike, instead of hanging up on Kaepernick and having a good laugh, immediately took the shoes off the market.

Most sane people wonder why Nike has a polarizing ignoramus like Kaepernick as a spokesman in the first place and can’t understand how taking a divisive political stance could be good for business.

David E. Johnston, CEO of Strategic Vision PR, is here to explain: “They know what they’re doing. (Kaepernick) appeals to the millennials. That’s what Nike is all about.”

And what are millennial athletic shoe buyers all about?

“They don’t care about the price. They don’t care about the quality of the product. The No. 1 thing that they look for when they select a brand is does this company make me feel good.”

Maybe you’re not a millennial and your No. 1 thing when you buy shoes is do they make your feet feel good.

And maybe you don’t care if the company that made the shoes shares your values as long as they feel good on your feet.

That’s because you’re old.

Johnston says most CEOs are older men who still focus only on profit, and they’re being advised by millennials who tell them it’s all about social media and the number of followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook.

The CEOs are buying it.

And, according to Johnston, “Businesses are scared of the mob, even though it’s a minority. To me, it’s fools’ gold. It might work short term. It won’t work long term.”

What it won’t do is make it any more likely that Kaepernick will find a job in the NFL. NFL owners like profit, and they’re not going to bring him and his media circus into town to be a backup quarterback in hopes that it might produce some really good tweets and make the millennials feel good.

But why would Kaepernick or any other player offended by the Betsy Ross flag want to wear an NFL uniform?

It banned blacks for the first 13 years of its existence.

Do all Major League Baseball uniforms represent the racism and racists who refused to allow blacks to play for half a century?

Or have the leagues acknowledged their mistakes and moved on?

As for me, I won’t be buying Nike shoes for a while. I don’t like the way they make me feel.

*Too many people made too much of an issue of U.S. women’s soccer player Alex Morgan celebrating after scoring against England by pretending to drink a cup of tea, but her responding by saying no one criticizes the men when they celebrate was worse.

The NFL and NCAA penalize players for taunting and over-celebrating all the time.

Of course, it could have been worse. She could have started a game of hide and seek like Antonio Brown or pretended to give birth to a soccer ball like JuJu Smith-Schuster.

John Steigerwald is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.