Former NFL quarterback and Nike brand ambassador Colin Kaepernick reportedly persuaded the company to pull a flag-themed sneaker featuring the “Betsy Ross flag” because he and others found it offensive.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Kaepernick reached out to the company after the design for the Air Max 1 USA dropped. The shoes were slated to be released for the upcoming July Fourth holiday.
Kaepernick reportedly told Nike that the shoes were offensive because of the connection of the “Betsy Ross flag” to the era of slavery in America. According to TMZ, he “also took issue with the fact that two prominent white nationalist groups — including the Patriot movement — use the flag as a symbol for their group.”
The 13 stars on the “Betsy Ross flag” are supposed to signify the 13 original colonies of the United States.
Nike is yanking a sneaker featuring the "Betsy Ross flag" after Colin Kaepernick said he and others consider the symbol to be offensive https://t.co/eKVtPM6oTA
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) July 1, 2019
Nike reportedly sent the sneakers out to retailers, but then asked for them back without providing an explanation for the recall.
In a statement provided to CBS News, Nike stated it “has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag.”
Kaepernick, who last played in the NFL in 2016, has been a prominent activist for various causes since he began kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest police brutality.