Nike has pulled its newest shoe design from retailers after former NFL player and political activist Colin Kaepernick objected to the shoe’s reference to American slavery.
Nike had developed a shoe officially dubbed the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July and stitched an American flag, circa 1770s, on each heel.
As People notes, this version of the flag has 13 stars for each of the original 13 colonies, along with 13 red and white stripes.
The Betsy Ross flag has been turned into a symbol of white nationalism and domestic extremism. Conservatives will whine, but Colin Kaepernick was right to speak out and Nike was right to pull the products. https://t.co/rq8HWeaqh6
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) July 2, 2019
According to a Nike spokeswoman: “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.”
People adds that in 2016, a Michigan chapter of the NAACP noted this 13-colonies flag appeared to have ties with “militia groups….responding to America’s increasing diversity with opposition and racial supremacy.”
The group’s concerns were voiced after a Michigan high school flew the flag next to a Trump political flag.
If you’re going to tweet about the Betsy Ross Flag, make sure you include this part: “It has been appropriated by some extremist groups opposed to America’s increasing diversity.” https://t.co/k5N5bGhDut
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) July 2, 2019
Kaepernick had reached out to Nike to express his concern that that particular flag design has connections to slavery.
Kaepernick has been an advocate for addressing systemic racism in the country ever since he decided to kneel during a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the third game of the 49ers’ 2016 preseason.
According to @WSJ, Nike will not release its Fourth of July flag-themed shoes after speaking with Colin Kaepernick, who says he and others see the Betsy Ross 13-star flag as an "offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery."https://t.co/8xQFe9Tiw8
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) July 2, 2019