It’s been a tough week for two of the biggest brands on the planet – Nike and Adidas – with both sportswear giants finding themselves embroiled in separate racism storms.
Nike, who’ve gone above and beyond of late to cultivate a squeaky clean image, found itself in strife after it unveiled a new and very patriotic trainer to coincide with July the 4th celebrations in the US his week.
The trainer, known as the Air Max 1 USA, featured an original version of the US flag dating back to the late 1700s.
However, none other than Nike ambassador, NFL player Colin Kaepernick, quickly pointed out that the flag coincided with the slavery movement in the US at the time.
The flag is more commonly known as the Betsy Ross flag and features 13 stars in a circle rather than the typical 50. It’s reportedly still used by white nationalists to this day and was once used by the American Nazi Party before World War Two.
According to media reports, Kaepernick contacted Nike and said the flag was an “offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery”.
Following the furore, Nike immediately withdrew the shoes from sale, saying in a statement it had made the decision “based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday”.
However, media reports are saying that the shoes that made it into circulation are now selling for well over $US2500 ($A3577) online.
Meanwhile, German sportswear giant Adidas is suffering some of its very own unfortunate marketing woes.
To promote the release of the Adidas-sponsored kit for EPL team Arsenal, the brand created the online campaign #DareToCreate that allowed fans to personalise the shirts with their very own messages.
Sadly, the campaign quickly fell victim to Twitter trolls who began posting highly offensive fake names that included names such as “@GasAllJewss”, “DieAllN****rs” and “@MadelineMcCann”.
The generated usernames were automatically tweeted from the official Adidas UK account to its 800,000 followers and then received many thousands of retweets.
Adidas quickly deleted the offensive tweets but not before significant backlash from fans who questioned how it could happen in the first place.
An Adidas spokesperson telling media: “As part of our partnership launch with Arsenal we have been made aware of the abuse of a twitter personalisation mechanic created to allow excited fans to get their name on the back of the new jersey,” Adidas said in a statement.
“Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this we have immediately turned off the functionality and the twitter team will be investigating.”
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