The sneaker in question is a version of the brand’s popular Air Max 1 Quick Strike style featuring the Betsy Ross version of the American flag from the late 18th century, which features 13 stars. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kaepernick — who is endorsed by the brand — reached out to Nike officials to express his concerns over using the image, stating the flag is offensive and has racist undertones because it was used during the era of slavery in the U.S.
The style was slated to go on sale this week and had already been shipped out to retailers, but Nike has asked for the sneakers to be returned. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a Nike spokesperson stated: “Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strick Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag.”
Kaepernick left his mark on the NFL during his last season in 2016, where he was one of the first players to kneel during the national anthem to bring attention to police brutality of African-Americans. After leaving the NFL, Kaepernick was featured in Nike’s “Dream Crazy” commercial last September, which went viral thanks to his narration, calling for people to “believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.”
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