Nike pulled a sneaker featuring an early version of the U.S. flag from shelves after endorser Colin Kaepernick reached out to the company and expressed concerns about the design, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Air Max 1 USA, reportedly created to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, featured an embroidered 1770s “Betsy Ross” flag with 13 stars to represent the original colonies. The design was slated to go on sale this week, but the company reportedly asked stores to return the shoes with no explanation. Sources told the Journal that Kaepernick reached out after seeing images of the shoes online, and said he and others thought the flag was an “offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery[.]”
Kaepernick reportedly declined to comment. A Nike spokeswoman said the company decided “not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag.” However, the Journal reported that some of the shoes made it onto the market—with some selling a pair for as much as $2,500 on shoe-selling site StockX.