News broke Tuesday that Nike cancelled its upcoming Betsy Ross flag-themed sneaker after a consultation with former American NFL quarterback and Nike spokesperson Colin Kaepernick, who told them that some people will find this product offensive because of its connection to an era of slavery.

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Betsy Ross flag has the red and white stripes of the American flag, but inside the blue field in the upper left hand corner are only 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies.

The story had everything: a traditional symbol of American patriotism being stifled by a football player already considered controversial for refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem. The problem, as analyst John Robb points out, is that the sneaker was probably never real to begin with and this is all just an elaborate advertising campaign. Who needs Russian influence operations sowing division in American society when our own corporations do it for profit?

In recent years, corporations have rushed in to fill a real or perceived void in our government’s morality. Take for instance Bank of America’s decision to stop lending to some gun manufacturers of military-style firearms to civilians. This is a way for corporations to virtue signal, letting customers know what their affiliation is in America’s new tribal political landscape, one that takes place against the backdrop of these heavily-contrived cultural wars.