Colin Kaepernick Breaks Silence After Igniting Controversy Over Nike’s Flag Shoes

Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick broke his silence on Thursday after Nike pulled sneakers featuring a version of the Betsy Ross American flag.

Kaepernick, who has a multi-million deal with Nike, has made his first public comment by quoting Frederick Douglass.

“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? This Fourth of July is yours, not mine…There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour,” Kaepernick tweeted on the Fourth of July. 

This tweet comes days after he ignited controversy by asking Nike to pull its Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July sneakers. The company said he told them he believes the flag used on the shoes is offensive.

Nike’s decision followed major blowback from politicians and commentators of all political stripes. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey pulled financial incentives for Nike’s planned factory in the state in response.

“It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it,” Ducey tweeted Tuesday. “Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here.”