Adidas tried to hype up a hideously offensive sneaker design with this patronizing little Facebook prompt: "Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?" Folks have made enough noise in protest of the shoe that Adidas decided to pull the design just hours after defending it.
The sneaker "is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott's outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery," Adidas said in a statement according to the Associated Press. "Since the shoe debuted on our Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback. We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace."
Nothing to do with slavery?
Sure. Perhaps they were just a nod to a more recent use of shackles: the mass incarceration of African-Americans.
For civil-rights veteran Rev. Jesse Jackson, the message the shoes convey is clear as ever.
“The attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our Constitution is offensive, appalling and insensitive," Jackson said in a statement. "Removing the chains from our ankles and placing them on our shoes is no progress."
Jackson also noted that the company's decision to create such an item is especially offensive given its past use of historical African-American sports figures to promote its brand.
"For Adidas to promote the athleticism and contributions of a variety of African-American sports legends --- especially Olympic heroes Wilma Rudolph and Jesse Owens and boxing great Muhammad Ali — and then allow such a degrading symbol of African-American history to pass through its corporate channels and move toward actual production and advertisement, is insensitive and corporately irresponsible," he said.
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(Photo: Courtesy CNN)
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