Black Pastors Call on Nike to Sever Relationship with Colin Kaepernick

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 18: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 18, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images, Nike, BNN

The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) called on Nike Thursday to end its relationship with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has a prominent endorsement deal with the athletic company.

Rev. William Owens, president of CAAP, said his organization is responding to Nike’s decision to pull an athletic shoe celebrating the Betsy Ross flag after Kaepernick expressed objections to it.

“It has been clear for a long time that Colin Kaepernick’s views represent hard Left anti-American politics,” said Owens, a civil rights movement activist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“They don’t represent most Americans, and they don’t reflect the outlook of most African Americans,” he added. “By caving to Mr. Kaepernick’s negative opinions of America, the Founding Fathers, and the woman who designed the first flag, Nike has aligned itself with a radical anti-American viewpoint.”

CAAP has launched a petition urging Nike not only to sever its business relationship with Kaepernick, but also to produce a special run of the Betsy Ross shoe to benefit veterans groups and organizations that assist military families.

“Many find Mr. Kaepernick’s positions to be ill-informed and offensive, especially to veterans and others who have served this country,” Owens explained. “How can we support a company that caters to this kind of thinking?”

The petition, which can be viewed at the CAAP website, is addressed to Mark Parker, president and CEO of Nike, in Beaverton, Oregon, and states:

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,” the petition continues. “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.”

Owens said that Nike’s decision to remove the Betsy Ross flag shoe has corrupted the company’s brand.

“There was a time when no one would have questioned that Nike was part of Team USA,” he said. “But now, they seem more interested in divisive politics than American athletes or values.”

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