Nike reportedly cancelled a patriotic shoe design for Independence Day with a Betsy Ross flag because former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick objected to the symbol, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Air Max 1 USA shoe was scheduled to sell ahead of the Fourth of July celebration on Wednesday.
Kaepernick, who is known for originating the kneeling protest against the national anthem during NFL games, reportedly told the company that the flag, with 13 stars, was a symbol for slavery that offended many.
"Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag," a spokeswoman for the company said.
Images of the shoe can still be found on social media:
Prep for the Fourth of July in style by picking up this #IndependenceDay inspired Nike Air Max 1 dropping next week… https://t.co/7v1Dj447cf— The Source Magazine (@The Source Magazine) 1561418818.0
The company asked retailers to return the shoes without telling them why.
The retail price for the shoe was $140, before it was pulled from shelves.
Image Source: Sneaker News screenshot
Nike was criticized heavily on social media for signing the controversial former NFL quarterback for a multimillion dollar marketing campaign. Despite calls for a boycott of the athletic shoe company, Nike sales grew immediately after the campaign advertisement aired, according to some industry metrics.
"There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales," said Hetal Pandya of Edison Trends in September 2018, "but our data over the last week does not support that theory."