Nike sparks controversy with ‘playful update’ to England’s cross of St. George

Nike sparks controversy with ‘playful update’ to England’s cross of St. George - Opinion and Analysis - News

Nike’s Controversial England Soccer Kit: A New Flag Design Sparks Debate and Criticism

Nike, the renowned sportswear company, has faced mounting pressure to reconsider the flag design on its recently-released England soccer kit. The new jersey, which is set to be worn by England’s players at the contact Championships in Germany later this year, has sparked controversy due to its departure from the traditional English flag design.

The new England kit, priced at £124.99 ($157) on Nike’s Website, features a small cross of St. George stitched onto the back of the collar in various shades of blue, purple, and red instead of the traditional red cross on a white background. The design, which Nike describes as a “playful update” to the flag meant to “unite and inspire,” has been met with mixed reactions on social media.

Keir Starmer, the UK opposition leader and a big football fan, has added his voice to those calling for a change in the design. In an interview with The Sun on Thursday, he expressed his support for the traditional English flag and urged Nike to reconsider its decision. Starmer stated, “We just need to be proud of it,” and suggested that Nike should reduce the price of the jersey while they reconsider their design.

The Labour Party leader is not alone in his criticism. Emily Thornberry, a UK lawmaker, voiced her confusion regarding Nike’s decision to change the flag design, questioning why they would make such alterations when it comes to other national flags. Thornberry shared her thoughts on Sky News on Friday, stating, “You wouldn’t expect Nike to go off and have a look at the Welsh flag and decide to change the dragon to a pussycat. You wouldn’t expect bits of purple in the French Tricolor.”

Nike’s England soccer kit isn’t the first time the company has faced criticism for its soccer jersey designs. Last year, during the Women’s World Cup, Nike opted not to put the uniform worn by England goalkeeper Mary Earps on sale, despite her attempts to do so. The company later acknowledged its mistake and made the goalkeeper jerseys of several teams available for purchase.

Despite the controversy surrounding the new England kit’s flag design, Nike has yet to comment on the issue. The debate continues on social media platforms, with some arguing that it’s disrespectful and others claiming it’s a harmless update. Regardless of the outcome, Nike’s decision to change the England flag design on its soccer kit has sparked intense debate and criticism.