Nike pulls Betsy Ross-era flag sneaker after Colin Kaepernick reached out to the company

Colin Kaepernick
(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

This is why representation matters.

Nike has made the decision not to release a sneaker that features an old 18th-century replica of the American flag. Nike had created the sneaker to commemorate the July 4th holiday.

In a statement released to CNN Business, the athletic-wear giant wrote: “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.”

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This comes after Nike had already delivered some of the sneakers to retail stores. But after Nike received a complaint from former NFLer, Colin Kaepernick, that he and others found the sneakers to be offensive, Nike is asking stores to return them, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The sneaker was priced at $140 and set to release on Monday, according to Released photos of the shoe show a version of the American flag with 13 stripes and 13 stars arranged in a circle – the Betsy Ross version of the American flag used in the United States from 1777 to 1795. It was used during the era of slavery.

It is not known whether any of the sneakers were sold before Nike pulled them and asked stores to return already distributed shoes.

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CNN was unsuccessful in reaching Kaepernick for comment on Monday. Last year, Kaepernick became the face of a groundbreaking Nike advertising campaign.

Nike has had its share of pulled products in recent months.

The company recently halted selling some of its products in China following a fashion designer’s support for protests in Hong Kong, which sparked backlash across social media.

In a statement, Nike said it made a decision to remove some products “based on feedback from Chinese consumers.”

And in May, Nike stopped an Air Force 1 sneaker from being released after an indigenous group in Panama took issue with its design.