A minor league baseball team’s tweet drew the ire of fans across Twitter who took it as a jab at Colin Kaepernick amid the ongoing controversy over Nike’s decision to cancel their new tennis shoe featuring a so-called “Betsy Ross” American flag.
The team’s official Twitter account captioned the post: “Hey @Kaepernick7 after a lot of thought, we have decided it’s best to just do it. #America.” The message tagged Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has been an outspoken advocate in the Black Lives Matter Movement and started a trend of kneeling during the national anthem at football games to protest police killings of African Americans.
The tweet also referenced Nike’s “Just Do It” marketing slogan. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company pulled the shoe featuring the original American flag design –13 white stars in a circle to represent the union of the original thirteen colonies– on the heel before its launch date at the advice of Kaepernick who said he found the shoe offensive.
Critics of the design say the flag connotes slavery and is used by far-right groups that also fly the Confederate flag as a symbol of segregation, racism and white supremacy.
The Tennessee Smokies deleted the tweet more than two hours later after a flood of comments slamming the team for poking fun at the situation.
The team issued another tweet saying: “Regarding one of our recent tweets regarding @Kaepernick7 and our field design for tonight’s game, it was meant to be a light-hearted take on a current situation. We did not mean to offend anyone by it. If it did, we certainly apologize.”