Colin Kaepernick Convinces Nike to Pull Betsy Ross Flag Sneaker and Right-Wing Twitter Loses It

Colin Kapernick Convinces Nike to Pull Betsy Ross Flag Sneaker and Right-Wing Twitter Loses It
A Nike Ad featuring American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick is on diplay September 8, 2018, in New York City. ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Nike caught the ire of dozens of Twitter users when the company announced it was pulling its special edition Air Max 1 USA sneaker on Tuesday. Wall Street Journal reported the American brand made a last minute decision to ax sale of the shoe, which was slated to hit retail stores this week, after receiving a call from Colin Kaepernick.

The former NFL player, who is a Nike brand ambassador, reportedly advised the sneaker company against sale the shoe due to the Betsy Ross flag design. He and others found the symbol's deep connection to the U.S. slavery era offensive.

The sneaker was designed in celebration of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday and featured a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle on the heel of the shoe. The 13 stars included on the flag, originally designed by Ross during the American Revolution, represented America's 13 colonies.

Shoe retailers already had the sneaker when Nike requested stores to return them. The shoe is also absent on the sneaker giant's website and apps. "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 rep said in a statement.

Backlash surrounding the removal of the shoe was immediate. Thousands took to Twitter to voice their opinions over Nike canning the design and called the decision unpatriotic and disrespectful to the flag. Many Republican and right-wing affiliates like Texas Senator Ted Cruz also took issue with Nike's decision.

Cruz suggested Nike "only wants to sell sneaker to people who hate the American Flag." Meanwhile, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was so upset with the decision that he claimed to have requested Arizona's Commerce Authority to "withdraw all financial incentive dollars" that was being provided for the sneaker and athletic-wear company to reside in the state.

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

There were others who found it absurd that Kaepernick would suggest the Besty Ross flag represented and highlighted America's racist past and former slavery institution, despite the flag's popularity among white supremacist and nationalist groups.

Kaepernick signed an endorsement deal worth millions with Nike in September 2018—just two years after the San Francisco 49er's star quarterback began keeling on the field during the national anthem in protest of the social injustice police killings of black Americans. Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers the following year and has yet to be picked up by another sports team. Kaepernick sued the league on claims that teams conspired to keep him and Eric Reid—his former teammate who also kneeled during the anthem—from being signed because of their political and social views. Kaepernick was awarded a settlement in March for less than $10 million.

See a few more reactions to Nike's decision to cancel the Air Max 1 specialty sneaker below.

The Betsy Ross flag is now a symbol of White Nationalism and slavery? Not defiance against a distant monarchy?

Really, Nike?

PC madness is accelerating just in time for 2020.
Trump feeds on your reflexive Wokeness.
Great job, everybody.

— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) July 2, 2019

It’s telling that some people are upset with Nike and not the white supremacist groups who have appropriated this flag.

— No Relation, Esq. (@TheCosby) July 2, 2019

Thank you for your leadership on this @dougducey. @Nike decision to cancel Betsy Ross shoe is ridiculous. We should be celebrating Betsy Ross and our exceptional nation this July 4th week (and every week.)

— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) July 2, 2019

Nike has pulled a line of patriotic sneakers to coincide with the July 4 holiday because Colin Kaepernick said he found the American flag design “offensive”.

Yes, really.

— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) July 2, 2019

Hey @Nike and @Kaepernick7

Does THIS Flag offend you too?!

God Bless America, and SHAME on you for your disrespect!#IndependenceDay2019 #Nike #BetsyRoss

— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) July 2, 2019

Nike thinks American flag is symbol of oppression? What planet are you on? Nike gladly allows Chinese Communist Party to tell it what products to sell while building its business around sweatshop labor. Nike is anti-American, pure & simple.

— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 2, 2019

Lol, as if Nike cares about getting their money, Nike won't lose money over them boycotting their multi-national corporation.

— 🍌🐟Nya~ // Shorter Wong Is Best Boy~💜🍍// (@NyaBoyd1996) July 2, 2019