Adidas Cancels Controversial ‘Slave’ Sneakers

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German sports apparel maker Adidas has canceled the release of the controversial JS Roundhouse sneaker, which featured rubber ankle shackles, after a huge public outcry, reports CNN.com.

The advertising for the shoe premiered on the Adidas Original Facebook page on June 14 with the caption:

“Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?”

“Wow obviously there was no one of color in the room when the marketing/product team ok’d this,” said a commenter identifying herself as MsRodwell on nicekicks.com.

Adidas defended the shoe’s designer Jeremy Scott by saying that he was just being “quirky” and “lighthearted,” but Rev. Jesse Jackson is but one of the leaders in the Black community who disagrees:

“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 Monday.

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Still never taking responsibility for the cultural insensitivity of the design, Adidas issued the following statement:

“The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott’s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery,” the statement said. “We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”

Dr. Boyce Watkins, frequent NewsOne’s contributor and founder of the Your Black World coalition, went into even more detail about his disgust:

“Handcuffs… shackles… the stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable, most of which were never documented in the history books and kept away from you in the educational system, all so you would be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it,” wrote Watkins.

USA Today reports on more shoe gaffes that made people wonder, “What were they thinking?”

Nike this spring shelved a Black and Tan shoe meant to debut around St. Patrick’s Day after criticism that the name wasn’t just a reference to a drink — it also evoked memories of a English-related paramilitary force noted for its harsh attacks on Irish during the 1920s.

Umbro a decade ago had a shoe called Zyklon, after the German word for Cyclone. Big mistake: Zyklon was also the name for a gas that Nazis used to murder Jews in concentration camps.

Previously, Nike created (and recalled) a shoe with a logo that looked like Arabic script for Allah. And in 2003, a Nike basketball sneaker called Loaded Weapon — endorsed by Dwyane Wade.

It’s a good thing Adidas came to their senses, but one really has to wonder how much do they really respect their consumers for this concept not to be left on the cutting room floor?

Our guess?  Not much at all.

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