A petition is circulating across social media platforms to force sports apparel giant Nike to stop selling its brand new Air Max 270 shoe, and the reason is leaving many sound-thinking consumers scratching their heads.
Change.org is spearheading the recall campaign behalf of the Muslim population, saying the new logo is ‘blasphemous and offensive’ because it resembles the Arabic word for ‘Allah.’
What seems to make it objectionable, however, is the location of the symbol. Its being on the bottom of the shoe leaves the holy word susceptible to dirt, sludge, and other disrespectful encounters in the environment.
One petitioner Saiqa Noreen strongly objects to the inclusion of the sacred symbol as part of Nike's branding, saying the logo “will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth.”
Ms. Noreen went on to say that it is up to Nike to understand the implications of their use of symbols and to make sure they aren’t offending anyone with them.
“It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe,” Noreen wrote. “This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslim’s and insulting to Islam.”
Nike responded to news of the petition, which by midday Wednesday had over 14,000 signatures, by saying that the alleged similarity to the Arabic word is purely coincidental.
"Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously," the spokesperson said in a written statement to Fox News. "The AIR MAX logo was designed to be a stylized representation of Nike's AIR MAX trademark. It is intended to reflect the AIR MAX brand only. Any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional."
This is not the first time Nike has been in trouble from the Muslim community over their branding choices.
“In 1997, the company came under scrutiny for using a flame-shaped logo that also resembled the word for Allah.
“In that case, Nike pulled 38,000 pairs of sneakers worldwide and donated $50,000 to an Islamic elementary school in the United States.”
So, if history is any indication, you can expect the company to cave and recall the popular shoe brand. And if you happen to have a pair, one of two things is likely.
Either it will become a collector’s item, increasing in value over time due to its notoriety, Or you may face the wrath of a real person who happens to object to your choice of footwear, thereby igniting a potential confrontation.
What are your thoughts on this sticky issue? Do you think Nike should recall the shoe or stand their ground? We’d love to hear your thoughts.