Nike has pulled a new limited edition Independence Day-themed shoe from stores after critics, including former NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick, expressed concerns about its “Betsy Ross Flag” design.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Air Max 1 sneaker features an early version of the American flag and Kaepernick urged the sportswear company to ax the shoe because of the flag’s problematic history. The flag, which was created around the time of the American Revolution, was flown in the U.S. decades before slavery was abolished, and it is now occasionally used as a symbol by white supremacist groups and individuals.
However, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) disagrees with Nike’s decision, calling it a “shameful retreat” in a series of tweets and retaliated by pulling financial incentives for building a new manufacturing plant in the state.
Ducey tweeted, “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.” The plant would have created more than 500 full-time jobs, according to local news outlet ABC 15 Arizona.
A Nike spokesperson said, “Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag.” The sneaker was retailing for $110 and was slated for release on July 1.