Jesse Jackson 'astonished' by Adidas 'shackle shoes'

June 19, 2012 3:24:53 PM PDT
Adidas has canceled plans to sell a controversial sneaker.

An outcry of criticism forced the German shoe maker to abandon a high-top sneakers that featured rubber shackles.

A photo of the JS Roundhouse Mid circulated on the Internet before the shoe was supposed to hit the market. But criticism came fast and furious by people who said the plastic orange chain and ankle cuff resembled shackles, an image of slavery.

"It is a symbol too strong, too powerful and too negative to be trivialized," said Rev. Jesse Jackson in a telephone interview. "I'm astonished Adidas would be this insensitive and allow this to happen."

Jackson went on to say that, had Adidas released the shoe, civil rights activists would have boycotted Adidas stores in 50 cities.

The shoe was scheduled to be released in August, and early Monday, Adidas defended it. But, as the outcry grew louder, Adidas made an about face and decided to abandon the shoe.

The company releasing a statement, saying, "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. We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace."

A day after the controversy, there was still talk on basketball courts about whether Adidas went too far by initially green-lighting the shoe.

"When I heard about the new design from Adidas, the first thing that came to mind was racism because of the age we're in now," said Jamal Hamilton. "I think it's just wrong on their part."

The shoes were expected to cost $350.


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