Nike was in the center of a political controversy back in July when they announced they would be pulling a Nike Air Max 1 colorway from store shelves. The shoe was patriotic in nature and featured the Betsy Ross flag which to Nike athletes like Colin Kaepernick, was a nod to a time when slavery was prevalent in society. Due to these fears, Nike ended up canceling the release of the shoe and it started a whole political firestorm, with some politicians denouncing the brand.
In a new interview with Fast Company, Nike CEO Mark Parker spoke on the decision to cancel the shoe and how they respect the opinions and feelings of their athletes.
“There are values that are important to the brand and the company that we’re not going to shy away from,” Parker said. “We support the views of our employees, our athletes. And yeah, we will put a stake in the ground and take a stand. I don’t want to suggest that we don’t. I think it’s probably pretty obvious that we do, and that’s a part of who we are as a company.”
Parker also explained how he never intended for their decision to divide people. In fact, he wanted to make sure no one was offended and that he stands by the decision. Nike has taken a stand in the past and this time around was yet another example of that.