Nike has pulled its planned “Betsy Ross flag” shoes after Colin Kaepernick apparently expressed his concerns that the design was offensive.
The shoe, the Nike Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, was slated to hit stores for the Fourth of July holiday and featured the original 13-stars version of the American flag on the heel (though whether or not Ross actually created the famous flag is a matter of debate).
After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery, the people said. Some users on social media responded to posts about the shoe with similar concerns. Mr. Kaepernick declined to comment.
In a statement to the WSJ, the company said, “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.” Mashable has reached out for additional comment.
Kaepernick has yet to comment publicly on the matter.
Nike’s decision to pull the shoes has created two new issues for the company.
First, the shoes were already shipped to retailers, according to the WSJ. They have asked those retailers to return the shoes back to the company to prevent their release.
Second, Nike is facing more backlash due to its relationship with Kaepernick. In September 2018, Nike unveiled Kaepernick as one of the faces of a new segment of its classic, ongoing “Just Do It” ad campaign which included an inspirational ad. That announcement was met with a mixture of support and derision, based largely around Kaepernick’s national anthem protests.
And, as with everything connected to Kaepernick, the social media echo chamber exploded with reactions on the shoes’ cancelation.
Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham, the same woman who told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” and once compared migrant child detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border to “summer camps,” was predictably irate, as were others who saw the decision as a direct attack on every