Nike Cancels ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ Sneakers After Criticism From Colin Kaepernick
By Yimin Huang, 02 Jul 2019
Nike walked back on what would have been the launch of limited edition USA-themed ‘Air Max 1’ sneakers in time for the Fourth of July. The brand was pressured to cancel the drop after it got heat for featuring an early American flag, known as the Betsy Ross flag, that some found offensive, including former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick reportedly told Nike that he and others felt offended by the Betsy Ross flag as it was flown during the era of slavery, according to theWall Street Journal. The design bore 13 stars representing the original 13 US colonies.
When the shoes were shown on various social media platforms such as Sneaker News’ Instagram account, they were denounced by streetwear enthusiasts. Some openly called Nike’s design “too racist” and even renamed it “Confederate Air Max 90s.”
A 2018 article by The Outline revealed that the flag was showcased in the home of a member of white nationalist group Identity Evropa.
As a result of the backlash, a Nike spokesperson has confirmed the sneakers emblazoned by the old American flag will no longer be released.
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Update: release is indefinitely postponed. Retailers are being asked to return the shoes to Nike. Celebrate the upcoming #IndependenceDay holiday with these Air Max 1s featuring the flag sewn by Betsy Ross. For a closer look at this upcoming release, tap the link in our bio.
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[via BuzzFeed News, cover image via Shutterstock]
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