It's the most patriotic day of the year on the United States's calendar as hundreds of millions of Americans gear up for their red, white, and blue holiday. The country enjoys Independence Day with an extra-long weekend filled with vacations, BBQs, and fireworks as companies do their best to capitalize off of the celebration with July 4 sales and attire.
Wanting in on the action was Nike who designed a pair of patriotic sneakers to help kick off the holiday. The shoes' design was that of the 18th century "Betsy Ross Flag" that is representative of the thirteen states as the thirteen red and white stripes, and the union is the thirteen white stars on a blue background. Nike called the sneakers the Air Max 1 USAs and featured the flag on its heels.
Many people have deemed this Betsy Ross-attributed flag to be offensive, including Colin Kaepernick, according to reports. The former NFL player gained notoriety and launched a movement for kneeling during America's National Anthem, a gesture that he's credited to the historical and cultural significance of the song and the flag themselves.
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The Wall Street Journal states that after learning of the Air Max 1 USA kicks, Kaepernick consulted with the company to share with them his concerns. The company made Kaepernick the face of one of their campaigns last year in the midst of his kneeling controversy, and when he reportedly told them that the use of that flag could be deemed as offensive, they yanked the shoes.
“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,” said Mark Rhodes, a spokesman for the company, in an email Monday. Some can't believe that Nike would make such a move and it's sparked a debate on social media. Do you think the shoes are offensive?