Nike is pulling an American flag-themed sneaker after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick found it offensive and complained that it harkened back to the slave era.
The Air Max 1 USA was intended as a celebration of U.S. Independence Day, with a flag that featured 13 white stars in a circle on the heel. The flag was created by Betsy Ross, an upholster in Philadelphia who has been credited for sewing the first star and stripes flag in 1776, during the Revolution.
Kaepernick, who endorses Nike products, contacted the company after the shoes were posted online, saying the flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery.
A Nike spokeswoman confirmed that the shoes were pulled from shelves because of the flag.
“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,” the spokeswoman said.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, tweeted that he was “embarrassed” for Nike and said he had “ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars” that the state was planning to offer the company to open a manufacturing plant near Phoenix. Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that it’s a good thing Nike “only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag.”
Although the shoe has been recalled, it has exploded in the black market. TMZ is reporting:
After Nike recalled their special Betsy Ross Flag Air Max 1 USA sneakers, DEMAND EXPLODED … with several leaked pairs selling for more than $2,000!!!
The shoes were originally supposed to be released on June 29 with a $120 price tag
The move almost immediately caused the shoe value to skyrocket with collectors because they essentially became a limited edition shoe … with very few pairs getting through to consumers.
We checked out the website StockX — a super popular streetwear auction site — and one pair of the Betsy Ross kicks sold for $2,501 … a Size 8.
A pair of Size 10.5s and a pair of Size 9s sold for $2,000 each. Another 10.5 sold for $1,750. A few pairs of Size 10s have sold in the $1,200 range.