Quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick may have just proven how much of a stranglehold he has over Nike.
After already shipping a new line of sneakers to stores for a major launch this week, Nike has told retailers to ship them all back, according to The Hill.
Why? Because Kaepernick didn’t like the American flags on their heels, according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources.
The sneakers, dubbed the Air Max 1 USA, were set to be released on Monday in honor of the Independence Day holiday. The $140 shoes displayed Betsy Ross flags on their heels.
The Betsy Ross flag is an early American flag from the late 1700s. It featured only 13 stars for the original 13 colonies. The flag was the first U.S. flag to look like our modern American flag, according to USHistory.org http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagfact.html.
But sources familiar with the matter say Kaepernick disapproved of the flag because it was flown during a time when slavery was legal in the U.S.
However, it also flew in an era when Americans were fighting for their independence from an oppressive government. America later became one of the nations that abolished slavery in the 1800s, joining other countries in ending a practice that had been global for most of human history.
Kaepernick has also protested the modern American flag during the playing of the national anthem, although he claims he is singularly protesting the treatment of black people by police officers.
“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 said, according to MarketWatch, not mentioning why.
Nike made Kaepernick the face of their company in September, a hugely political move for a company that sells sports attire and equipment.