Nike Pulls Betsy Ross Shoe After Criticism From Colin Kaepernick

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is threatening sanctions against the company amid the controversy

Colin Kaepernick at the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Award Ceremony in 2018. (Paul Marotta/Getty)
Colin Kaepernick at the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Award Ceremony in 2018. (Paul Marotta/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / July 2, 2019 9:33 am

Another major American holiday, another controversy involving Nike and Colin Kaepernick.

Nike, which made the former quarterback the face of an ad campaign that kicked off around Labor Day and led to some people boycotting the brand (but also netted it $6 billion in market value), reportedly pulled a sneaker featuring the original U.S. flag designed by Betsy Ross which was set to drop in honor of Independence Day at the request of Kaepernick.

The flag on the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, which features 13 stars in a circle, is considered to be an offensive symbol by Kaepernick thanks to its connection to a time period when slavery was legal, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“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, according to The Journal. 

Though Nike did ship some of the shoes to retailers, it requested for them to be returned without explaining why. A few pairs nonetheless landed in the hands of customers and are being sold on the secondary market for as much as $2,000.

Following news of Nike nixing the shoe, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced he was ordering the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw incentives for the apparel company building a manufacturing plant in the state.

Ducey explained his decision in a series of Twitter posts.

Kaepernick declined to comment on the matter to The Journal.

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