Beaverton, OR – Nike has opted to nix the release of a U.S.A.-themed sneaker after ex-NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick declared that the Betsy Ross flag featured on the shoe’s heel was offensive.
The Air Max 1 USA, which was created in honor of Independence Day, was supposed to be released to the public during the Fourth of July holiday week, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The sneaker featured an early version of the American flag – known as the Betsy Ross flag – on the heels.
The American Revolution-era flag design dates back to the 1770s, and has a circle of 13 stars and stripes representing the original 13 colonies.
Nike posted images of the sneakers online ahead of their scheduled release, and had already shipped the shoes to retailers, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick saw photos of the sneakers and contacted the company to complain about the Betsy Ross flag design.
The ex-quarterback alleged that it was offensive to use a symbol that stemmed back to an era of slavery in the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The company abruptly asked merchants to return the shipments of $140 shoes, but provided no explanation as to why.
“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 Nike spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.
Joseph Murphy, a retired police officer who now runs patriotic apparel company Warrior 12, incorporates the flag in many of the company's shirt designs.
DISCLOSURE: Warrior 12 produces official Blue Lives Matter shirts and gear and the proceeds go to support Blue Lives Matter.
"There's nothing racist about this flag," Murphy explained. "The problem is that racial identitarians like Kaepernick tend to see everything through the lens of racism."
"It's getting to the point where any American who is proud of their country is being viewed as racist. It's madness," Murphy added.
"Unlike Nike, we're not going to cater to these race-obsessed wackjobs," Murphy concluded.
Kaepernick, a Nike endorser who sported socks depicting police officers as pigs while playing for the San Francisco 49ers, hasn’t played an NFL game since 2016 – the same season he began kneeling on the field during the national anthem.
The anti-police ex-quarterback’s protest was supposedly to raise awareness about allegations that U.S. law enforcement officers are racist killers.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color," Kaepernick said at the time.
He opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers after the 2016 season and sat out the 2017 NFL season when no other teams signed him.
In September of 2018, Nike selected Kaepernick to be the face of the company’s advertising campaign.
"Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” the advertising slogan read.
Kaepernick's "sacrifice" is an apparent reference to the former NFL player's inability to get re-hired after voluntarily quitting the NFL.
The "believe in something" is an apparent reference to Kaepernick calling police officers murderers and kneeling in protest to the American flag.
On Tuesday morning, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that the state is withdrawing financial incentive dollars that had formerly been intended to help entice Nike to build a massive manufacturing operation in Goodyear, KNXV reported.
Ducey blasted the sneaker giant’s decision to nix the release of the Betsy Ross flag shoes and said the company’s move was a shameful embarrassment.
"Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike," the governor said in a series of tweets. "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,” Ducey railed. “It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.”
Nike’s refusal to go against Kaepernick made backing out of plans to entice the company to build in Goodyear necessary, the governor said.
"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,” Ducey said. “Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history.”
The governor also stressed the importance of education over supposed political correctness.
“It shouldn’t take a controversy over a shoe for our kids to know who Betsy Ross is,” he tweeted. “A founding mother. Her story should be taught in all American schools. In the meantime, it’s worth googling her."