Backlash from Nike’s recent decision to pull an American-themed sneaker prior to the Fourth of July just hit home. A local mom has created a petition asking Dawson County High School to boycott Nike by discontinuing the purchase of the company’s uniforms and gear for the Tigers football team.
The petition, created by Dawson County Tiger mom Rachael Goodman on July 9, has garnered more than 860 signatures in six days.
“I believe we are a county that honors and respects our great Country, as well as our veterans, and I feel like giving thousands of dollars every year to a company that discontinued the production of a shoe because its spokesperson found the American flag offensive, does not reflect the overall majority of our patriotic community,” Goodman said in a social media post asking for support of the petition.
Earlier this month Nike designed the Air Max 1 USA in celebration of the July Fourth holiday. The sneaker featured an early American flag, also referred to as the Betsy Ross flag.
However the shoes were pulled from shelves before they went on sale after former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, told the company it should not sell a shoe featuring a design he and others deem offensive.
The design dates back to the 1770s, created by Betsy Ross to represent the 13 original colonies, however Kaepernick claimed the flag is an offensive symbol due to its connection to an era of slavery.
The petition is addressed to Superintendent Damon Gibbs, the Board of Education and the county’s football coaches including Head Football Coach Sid Maxwell. It asks that the county considers purchasing uniforms and other equipment for the Tigers from any other company besides Nike as the company has “made it clear that they do not have respect for our Nation’s flag, history or Veterans” by discontinuing the shoe.
“As a proud resident of Dawson County, I do not believe that Nike and Mr. Kaepernick’s views represent the majority of people in our community,” the petition continues. “Dawsonville honors, respects and appreciates our many Veterans in this county and Nation.”
The petition states that the signers ask that their money is no longer used to support this “anti-American company” and that the school system find another vendor to supply uniforms and equipment.
After being made aware of the petition, Maxwell said that he is open to reconsidering a contract with Nike.
"I got over the first one, Kaepernick kneeling, and then came this one, Kap 2.0. It makes you reconsider,” Maxwell said.
Unfortunately for the signers of the petition, Maxwell
said that the “boat is in the water” for this year, as he put in his purchase
order in the spring, well before Nike’s decision to pull the sneaker.
“If I don't order in the spring we won't have what we need for the fall,” Maxwell said.
As for why Maxwell has used Nike products in his program, he said Nike makes a good product.
“They do everything good. Good shoes, good cloth. When you look at UnderArmor, they have better cloth, but worse shoes. There's a trade-off,” Maxwell said.
On July 11, Goodman posted an update to the petition stating she had met with Maxwell to discuss the issue and that her next step is to request meetings with each athletic division as well as with the school board to present the signed petition.
“Each day on the news, we see these pro athletes pushing the envelope further with their anti -American behaviors and disrespect for our flag. As long as we continue to support them, and the companies that sponsor them, I believe their hate for our Country will only continue to grow and spread,” Goodman wrote. “By allowing our youth to idolize and advertise for them, we are teaching them that this behavior is acceptable and a way to gain attention.”
Dawson County High School Athletic Director Jason Gibson is aware of the petition and has no comment at this time.
According to Superintendent Damon Gibbs, the board of education has no policy in place that restricts or encourages the purchase of athletic attire.
“The decision about whether or not to purchase a specific brand of attire would be at the discretion of the school or booster club,” Gibbs said.
A majority of the items in question have already been purchased for the fall athletic seasons, he continued.
“I would encourage anyone wanting to help make the decision for future purchases to work with the school and booster clubs,” Gibbs said.
Reporter Bob Christian contributed to this report.