Ever since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem to bring awareness to social inequalities, the country has been split on whether they support him or not. Then, in September of 2018, the world was shocked to hear that Nike had teamed up with Kaepernick to celebrate their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. Many of those opposing Kaepernick protested by burning their Nike gear.
Since then, Kaepernick has been rather quiet as he works behind the scenes with Nike on various promotional material and shoe designs. But even that relationship doesn’t seem to be on the same page.
According to the Wall Street Journal, those familiar with the inner workings of the company claimed Kaepernick stopped the rollout of a new Nike shoe claiming that the sneaker was offensive. The design depicted an American flag with 13 stars in a circle, but Kaepernick felt it celebrated slavery and would not be well received.
The Air Max sneaker and the Air Max 1 USA were planned to go on sale before the Fourth of July, with many of the sneakers already shipped to stores throughout the country, CBNC reported.
Kaepernick reportedly called Nike to express his displeasure with the design because he felt that rather than celebrating the original 13 colonies, it also celebrated the slavery that was occuring at that time. Some white supremacists have also begun using that early flag design as one of their symbols, The Washington Post reported.
A spokesperson for Nike announced the recall of the shoe. “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 stands to lose a bucketload of money after they asked all stores to return the sneakers. Nike did not explain at the time why they were being recalled. But some avid sneaker lovers had somehow already gotten their hands on some of the shoes and have been reselling them online for a lucrative profit.
Senator Ted Cruz expressed his anger in a tweet by stating Kaepernick has the power to choose what gets put on store shelves. “It’s a good thing Nike only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag.”
In response, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has pulled the company’s tax exemption from the state.