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Colin Kaepernick Convinces Nike to Pull ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ Sneaker

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  • Nike announced Monday that it would not release a new sneaker that featured the Betsy Ross flag on the heel, which was designed to celebrate Independence Day.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the decision to pull the shoe came after Colin Kaepernick, a Nike spokesman, told the company he and others found the flag offensive because of its connection to an era of slavery.
  • After the report broke, people began debating the situation on social media, with some supporting Nike and Kaepernick and others calling it an overreaction.

The Shoe

Nike canceled the launch of a new sneaker that featured the Betsy Ross flag after Colin Kaepernick told the company he and others found the flag offensive, sparking a viral debate on what the flag symbolizes. 

On June 24, Nike announced plans to release a new sneaker on July 4 to celebrate Independence Day. The heel of the shoe would feature an early American flag often referred to as the “Betsy Ross flag,” which was designed during the American Revolution and includes 13 stars for the original 13 colonies.

People began criticizing the sneaker design, arguing that it was insensitive to use because the flag is a symbol connected to an era of slavery.

On Monday, Nike said they would no longer be launching the shoe and pulled it from their website and apps, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag,” a spokesperson for the company explained to the outlet. 

According to the Journal, the company had already sent out shipments of the shoe to retailers when Colin Kaepernick, one of Nike’s most prominent spokesmen, saw the sneaker and asked the company to reconsider. 

“Mr. Kaepernick…reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery,” the Journal reported.

Responses

News of Nike canceling the shoe and the reason behind the decision sparked mixed reactions from the public. Some agreed with Kaepernick and also view the flag as an offensive symbol linked to the slavery era and white nationalism.

Others felt like Nike and Kaepernick were overreacting and defended the flag. 

Arizona Governor Takes Action

Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey was among those against the decision. In the early hours of July 2, Ducey tweeted that he had ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw from a financial incentive deal with Nike. 

According to city documents, the deal involved Nike building its next U.S. manufacturing facility in the city of Goodyear, near Phoenix. The company had also agreed to:  

  • Create at least 505 full-time manufacturing jobs.
  • Provide an average salary of around $48,000 a year.
  • Pay a minimum of 65% of health-care premiums.
  • Invest at least $184.5 million in tenant improvements Goodyear and the manufacturing facility.

In exchange, the city of Goodyear had agreed to waive almost $1 million in plan reviews and fees, as well as reimburse Nike $1 million for the jobs created. 

The Goodyear City Council agenda shows they met Monday evening and signed off on the agreement less than 12 hours before the Governor’s decision to withdraw.

Past Controversies

This is not the first time the Betsy Ross flag has created controversy like this. In 2016, a high school in Michigan received backlash after pictures of students waving a Trump flag along with a Betsy Ross flag went viral.  

The school district superintendent condemned the act and later said in a letter, “to wave a historical version of our flag, that to some symbolizes exclusion and hate, injects hostility and confusion to an event where no one intended to do so.” 

The president of the NAACP Greater Grand Rapids Branch also responded to the situation. In his own letter, he wrote the flag “has been appropriated by the so-called ‘Patriot Movement’ and other militia groups who are responding to America’s increasing diversity with opposition and racial supremacy.” 

While the Betsy Ross flag is not often used, the date it was adopted by Congress has become an American holiday known as Flag Day. 

See what others are saying: (The Wall Street Journal) (The Root) (Forbes)

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Upcoming “Karen” Movie Slammed as Rip-Off of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”

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The horror film follows a Black couple that moves into a house next door to a white woman named Karen.


“Karen” Trailer Goes Viral

The viral “Karen” trope is getting the Hollywood treatment, and people on Twitter would like a word with the film industry’s manager. 

“Karen” has become a term used to describe entitled, and often racist, white women who are quick to call the cops or complain about customer service when things don’t go exactly their way. The upcoming movie, called “Karen,” is a horror picture that follows a Black couple that moves into a new house next door to a pearl necklace-wearing and Pinot Grigio-drinking white woman. Any guesses on what her name is?

The film, a BET Original, was written and directed by Coke Daniels and stars Taryn Manning as the titular “Karen.” Cory Hardrict and Jasmine Burke play the couple that’s new in town. The trailer was released on Thursday but started gaining traction online this week.

Throughout the trailer, Manning’s character is seen threatening to call the manager at a restaurant, setting up security cameras that look at her new neighbors’ house, and calling the cops on a group of teenagers while they record her in that now-familiar viral format. 

She also says that Burke’s character is “slaving away in the kitchen” upon entering her home and tells a group of Black people, “you people are very angry.” It also appears that she owns a soap dispenser with the Confederate flag on it. 

In case people watching were unable to put the glaringly obvious puzzle pieces together, a small child eventually says, “She doesn’t like Black people,” in the trailer.  

Because the hammer is perhaps hitting the nail a little too harshly on the head, many wondered if it was even a real movie or some kind of “Saturday Night Live” parody. 

Twitter Compares Film to “Get Out”

Others thought it looked like the film was ripping off Jordan Peele’s hit horror movie “Get Out,” which is about a Black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family.

“Get Out” was praised for using the horror genre to provide nuanced commentary and observations on racism in America. Peele won an Academy Award for the film’s original screenplay, and it was also nominated for Best Picture. “Karen,” on the other hand, is not likely to wind up part of the awards conversation come 2021.

Daniels ended up sharing an article comparing his upcoming project to “Get Out” on his Instagram story, also apologizing for bringing Peele into the online discourse. 

Daniels previously told Deadline that he wrote this film in 2020 as discussions about race relations in the United States were reaching a boiling point. 

“Last year during the global pandemic and civil unrest, I — like many of us — felt anger, despair and hopelessness,” he said. “The overwhelming amount of support from people around the globe, who want to see change, has been such an inspiration.”

“Karen” does not yet have a release date.

See what others are saying: (Esquire) (CNN) (Independent)

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Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out as Gay

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While making his announcement, the athlete also pledged a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.


Nassib Comes Out

Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history on Monday as the first active NFL player to come out as gay.

The 28-year-old made the announcement in an Instagram video, along with a longer written statement.

“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” he said in the post.

“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he continued.

“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project.”

In the text that followed his video, Nassib went on to explain why he was so drawn to The Trevor Project and its mission to provide suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community. 

He also noted that he was thankful for the support from his NFL coaches and fellow players. “From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance,” he wrote.

Praise From Sports Community

Nassib’s announcement was met with praise from his team on social media, as well as other athletes and the NFL itself.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on behalf of the league, saying that it “is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth.”

Several football fans and commentators, including sports reporter Jemele Hill, also pointed to the potential impact his bravery could have.  

“Carl Nassib likely isn’t the only active gay player in the NFL, but him coming forward will be huge for those who haven’t gotten there yet,” HIll tweeted. “Very courageous decision that will not only help other players but so many young people in this country.”

See what others are saying:(ESPN)(The New York Times)(NBC News)

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Billie Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Racist Slur in Old Clip

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Eilish said she is “appalled and embarrassed” to have mouthed along to a song containing the term, which she did not know was a slur at the time.


Video Shows Billie Eilish Using Slur

Singer Billie Eilish apologized Monday night for mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur in an old video that recently resurfaced on social media. 

The clip was featured in a compilation that went viral on TikTok. In it, she was mouthing along to the song “Fish” by Tyler the Creator, which contains the slur. The compilation also showed her speaking in a voice that many interpreted as her mocking foreign accents or languages.

“I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this,” Eilish wrote on her Instagram story. “And this is something that I WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that I am not.”

Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Term 

The “Bad Guy” singer said she was 13 or 14 at the time the video was taken, and claimed she had no idea the word was a derogatory term at the time. 

“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” Eilish wrote. “This song was the only time I’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family. Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”

Regarding accusations that she mocked foreign accents and languages, the singer said she was speaking a “silly gibberish” that she made up as a child and uses around her pets, family, and friends in a joking manner. 

“It is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” she added. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”

Regardless of how it was interpreted I did not mean for any of my actions to have caused hurt to others and it absolutely breaks my heart that it is being labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” she continued.

The Grammy Award-winner said that she wants to use her platform to promote “inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity, and equality.” She closed her statement by telling her followers that it is important for people to listen and learn when it comes to conversations about these subjects.

Read her full apology below.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Complex) (The Guardian)

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