Nike had planned on releasing a special patriotic version of its Air Max 1 shoe, which featured the famed “Betsy Ross” version of the U.S. flag.
Those plans have been scrapped now, after former NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick raised concerns over the flag’s connection to a time when slavery was legal, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The shoe was set to hit stores July 1 and retail for $120, but was halted, the Journal reports, after seeing renderings of the shoe’s design before its release. Kaepernick, the face of Nike’s “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign, had brought up that that particular design has been used by groups like the Patriot Movement and Identity Evropa as a symbol of white nationalism.
“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 spokesman Mark Rhodes said in a release on Monday.
The flag in question was embroidered on the back of the shoe, officially dubbed the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, and featured 13 alternating red and white strips, with 13 white stars in a circle — to symbolize the original 13 U.S. colonies.
The decision already is having consequences for Nike, which is planning to open a multimillion-dollar manufacturing plant in Phoenix.
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” Arizona Gov. Doug Dusey tweeted Tuesday morning. “Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here.”
Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here. 7/
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) July 2, 2019
Yahoo Sports says Nike began the pullback about two weeks ago, and that it’s unclear what the company plans to do with the product.
Forbes reports the shoes did somehow make it into a few hands and are now selling for $2,500 each on the popular streetwear auction site, StockX.
In 2016, Kaepernick famously kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality in the United States. He has not played in the NFL since that season.