Nike has pulled their new Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July sneaker after former NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick voiced a complaint to the brand, reports the Wall Street Journal. The sneaker, which was released as a July 4th limited edition, features embroidery of the Betsy Ross American flag.

nike betsy ross shoe

The flag, Kaepernick reportedly explained, is evocative of the late 1700s, when the Mid-Atlantic slave trade was at its peak. The Betsy Ross flag has also been adopted by white supremacists groups, including the terrorist “patriot” movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“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,” Nike said in a statement to CNN. The flag’s distinctive circular star design represents the original 13 colonies of Revolutionary America. Nike had intended for the sneaker to commemorate this year’s Fourth of July.

The move has also drawn backlash from right-leaning commentators and politicians. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called Nike “anti-American” for partnering with the “Chinese Communist Party.”


The Governor of Arizona, Doug Doucey, pulled tax incentives offered to Nike to build a manufacturing plant in the state, reports CNBC. The factory was projected add up to 500 jobs to the area. On Twitter, Gov. Doucey wrote that he is “embarrassed for Nike.”

The same folks who burned their Nike apparel last year after the company backed Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against POC are threatening to do so again, many calling the move to pull the shoe “unpatriotic.”


Still, as with any supply and demand, the Besty Ross sneaker’s price is now skyrocketing on the secondhand market, reports CNBC. The shoe is fetching upwards up of $2,000 on StockX — an ironic side effect of America’s revolutionary brand of capitalism.

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*First Published: July 2, 2019, 8:04 am