Nike’s ‘flag’ sneakers stir political outrage in US, footwear brand pulls down product
Nike Inc. defended its decision to pull a July Fourth shoe from shelves after NFL-star-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick objected to the design, a move that stoked controversy inside and outside the sneaker giant.
A pair of Nike sneakers, themed on an early version of the American flag, has led to political outrage in the US ahead of the country’s Independence Day. Nike earlier this week cancelled the release of the sneakers which featured a 13-star flag, said to have been designed by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross around the time of the American Revolution.
A report by The Wall Street Journal said Nike took a decision to yank the sneakers, called the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, after NFL star-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive.
Nike said it routinely makes business decisions to withdraw products or services, cited media reports. “Nike made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey condemned Nike’s decision to nix the release of the shoes. Ducey tweeted: “I cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike. Nike is an iconic American brand and American company. This country, our system of government and free enterprise have allowed them to prosper and flourish.
“Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism. It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.”