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PICS: Nike pulls July 4th flag-themed sneaker after Colin Kaepernick says offensive

Nike shoe boxes. (MaxPixel/Released)
July 02, 2019

Nike has pulled an American flag-themed shoe after reported complaints from former NFL player Colin Kaepernick that the design was offensive.

Nike had teased the release of the sneaker, dubbed “Air Max 1 USA,” which featured the Betsy Ross flag design of 13 white stars in a circle pattern; it was slated for release on July 4 to celebrate the national holiday, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Nike went as far as to ship the shoes to retailers, then ordered them to be returned after Kaepernick’s alleged complaints.

Kaepernick reportedly saw Nike’s images online and expressed to the company that the Betsy Ross design was created at a time concurrent with slavery, which causes offense to people.

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The flag design with the circle of stars was developed in the 1770s as a representation of the 13 original colonies. Because slavery occurred during that era, some opponents argue the flag design used at the time is a symbol of white supremacy.

“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, as it featured the old version of the American flag,” a Nike spokeswoman said.

Nike had said the sneaker would cost $140.

The shoe somehow ended up in the hands of sneaker collectors, and some pairs were listed on a sneaker reselling website called StockX where the highest one sold for $2,501.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said on Tuesday that he directed the state’s Commerce Authority to halt financial incentives previously promised to Nike in exchange for relocating to Goodyear, Ariz.

“Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major @Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ,” the governor said in the first of nine tweets.

“And then this news broke yesterday afternoon,” he added, accompanied with an article on Nike’s decision to pull the shoe.

“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” he added.

“Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism,” he continued. “Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here.”

“Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history,” he said, before going on to emphasize the importance of Betsy Ross to American history.

Amid his worst performing season in 2016, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers and began kneeling during the national anthem ahead of NFL games to protest police brutality and racism.

Last year, he signed a multi-year contract with Nike to include his own clothing line, a hefty advertising campaign with his image, and a contribution to his charity, Know Your Rights.

Kaepernick became the face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, which included his face and messages proclaiming his sacrifice – “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

The campaign drew widespread criticism from those who questioned why Kaepernick was chosen as the face of sacrifice, and what, exactly, he had sacrificed.

Many publicly voiced their criticisms against Nike and Kaepernick for the campaign, including “American Sniper” widow Taya Kyle, Sen. Marco Rubio, veteran-owned company Nine Line Apparel and President Donald Trump.

Before the protest controversy in 2016, Kaepernick’s football performance was in decline. His 2015 performance yielded “one of the lowest quarterback ratings of his entire career.” His beginning 2016 performance was just as dismal, causing him to become benched.

He hasn’t played a game since the 2016 season.