Nike Cancels 'Betsy Ross Flag' Air Max 1 After Colin Kaepernick Raises Racial Concerns

Many find the flag an offensive representation of a time when millions of Black Americans were enslaved.

Nike will no longer drop their new Fourth of July-inspired Air Max 1 after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is the face of Nike's "Just Do It" 30th anniversary campaign, raised concerns about the shoe’s use of a Betsy Ross flag.

The shoe, which was supposed to drop on July 1, had a heel embroidery design depicting the "Betsy Ross flag," which features 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 white stars to represent the original U.S. colonies.

However, after Kaepernick saw renderings of the shoe’s design ahead of its release, the activist spoke personally with the brand and informed them that Black Americans may view the flag as offensive because it was created in a time when slavery existed. In the end, the apparel company decided to postpone the release indefinitely, reported the Wall Street Journal.

"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 brand told Sole Collector.

After shipping the shoes to retailers, Nike asked for them to be returned without providing a reason, reported WSJ. The company has since announced its site will not carry the shoe, and any inquiries for the shoes should be directed to local merchandisers.

  • The historical flag was first used in 1792 when lawmakers publicly advocated for the expansion of slavery and declared that those born into slavery were slaves for life.

    While some white Americans took issue with Nike’s decision to pull the shoe, people on Black Twitter quickly reminded them about the flag’s history and how it has been misappropriated by white supremacists.  

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