Published: Wed, July 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Nike pulls USA flag-themed shoe after Kaepernick objection

Nike pulls USA flag-themed shoe after Kaepernick objection

The news broke following a report by the Wall Street Journal that claimed Kaepernick told Nike he found the very idea of the shoe "offensive" because of its connection to America's slavery era.

The flag is believed to be a design by a woman named Betsy Ross around the height of the American Revolution in the mid-to-late 1770s, leading to its nickname, Betsy Ross Flag.

Nike asked for retailers to return the shoes after shipping them out without explaining why, WSJ reported, and the shoes aren't available on Nike's website.

Kaepernick, a Nike athlete, reportedly took issue with the prominent placement of the Betsy Ross flag - which features 13 white stars in a circle to represent the 13 colonies.

Kaepernick ignited a nationwide controversy in 2016 when he chose to protest inequality and racist police brutality by refusing to stand during the national anthem.

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Nike's decision to yank the shoes from shelves has already prompted backlash, including from Arizona governor Doug Ducey, who accused the company of "bow [ing] to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism" on Twitter. In a string of tweets, Ducey explained: "American businesses should be proud of our country's history, not abandoning it". He became the face of a Nike ad campaign past year, with the slogan, "Believe in something".

In exchange, the city agreed to waive almost $1 million in permit and plan review fees, in addition to reimbursing Nike another $1 million for created jobs, The Arizona Republic reported. Some parents and students left the game "unsettled", as the flag was seen by some as a symbol of white supremacy and white nationalism, according to, a local news outlet.

Now Nike is facing further criticism by customers offended by the decision to cancel the shoe's sale and by Kaepernick's alleged involvement. During that season, he sat and then knelt during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

"If we are in a political environment where the American flag has become controversial to Americans, I think we have a problem", said Sen.

The Phoenix Business Journal and Arizona Republic reported Tuesday that Nike planned to spend at least $185 million on the factory, which would make air sole cushioning for its shoes. He has not played in the National Football League since that season. Ducey's office and the Arizona Commerce Authority didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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