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Nike withdraws a pair of trainers after Kaepernick calls them offensive

Unsurprisingly, Republicans are calling the move ‘anti-American’

Nike has withdrawn a pair of trainers featuring a variation of the American flag that has been embraced by white nationalists and the American Nazi party, after activist and former NFL star Colin Kaepernick pointed out its offensive connotations. 

The Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July trainer, which features the Betsy Ross Flag, an early version of the American flag with 13 white stars in a circle – representing the 13 original US colonies – was set for release in celebration of tomorrow’s Independence Day. Nike has since withdrawn sale of the shoe after Kaepernick said the brand should not advocate an offensive symbol that so many people associate with slavery. 

“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 spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.

Unsurprisingly, the news has been met with backlash by Republicans who have deemed the move “anti-American”. Arizona’s Republican governor Doug Ducey tweeted: “Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike.”

“Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism,” he continued. 

Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, called the brand “anti-American, pure and simple”, while Ted Cruz said Nike “only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag”.

The former NFL player caused controversy back in 2016 for refusing to stand during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and state violence. Kaepernick later left the team and he hasn’t joined another one since. 

Last year, Nike released a campaign with Kaepernick with the statement: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Following the release of the campaign, some Twitter users started the hashtags #BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt, even posting videos of them burning their Nike shoes.