Nike featuring Betsy Ross flag canceled after backlash

Report: Colin Kaepernick complains

By Rob McLean, CNN Business
Nike

Nike is canceling a sneaker that featured a version of the American flag from the late 18th century.

(CNN) - Nike is canceling a sneaker that featured the "Betsy Ross" version of the American flag from the late 18th century.

"Nike made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday," Nike said in a statement to CNN Business. "Nike is a company proud of its American heritage."

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Nike delivered the sneakers to retailers, but asked stores to return them to Nike after the company received a complaint from former NFL star Colin Kaepernick. The Journal indicated Kaepernick said he and others found the shoe offensive because of its ties to America's era of slavery.

Kaepernick could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

The shoe was set to be released Monday for $140, according to Sneakernews.com. The website included photos of a shoe that featured a version of the American flag with 13 stars organized in a circle and 13 stripes. That version of the flag, according to the Smithsonian, was used in the United States from 1777 to 1795.

It is unclear if any of the shoes were sold.

This is the second instance of Nike removing a product in recent days. The company stopped selling some products in China after a fashion designer's support for protests in Hong Kong sparked a social media backlash.

Nike said in a statement at the time that it had decided to remove some of its goods "based on feedback from Chinese consumers."

In May, according to footwearnews.com, Nike canceled an Air Force 1 sneaker after an indigenous group in Panama objected to its design.

-- CNN's Alison Kosik contributed to this report

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