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Most sneakerheads were confused when Nike announced a July 1st release date for the Air Max 1 “Independence Day” and just as quickly pulled it from shelves, but now the reason has been revealed: outspoken former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick informed the Swoosh Brand that they shouldn’t sell a shoe with detailing that he and others considered offensive. The design’s focal point arrives on the heel, where Betsy Ross’s 13-star flag is embroidered in a prominent position. This flag was originally created back in the 1770s to represent the 13 original American colonies, but in recent years it’s come to be associated with white supremacist groups, and Kaepernick also reportedly felt that the design was inherently linked to a period of slavery. Nike issued a rather short statement to CNBC, saying simply “Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 QS Fourth Of July as it featured an old version of the American flag.”
Apparently the shoes were never supposed to hit the market either, as various inside sources at retailers reported to us that they were ordered to ship their stock back well before the news broke. This wouldn’t be the first time that the Beaverton Brand has dipped their toes in hot water this year either: earlier, they were forced to cancel the release of an Air Force 1 “Puerto Rico” after a similar uproar, as it featured a mola-printed graphic of the coqui frog, an animal and traditional art style that are in fact native to Panama, not PR. Unsurprisingly, the extra-limited supply and extremely high demand have caused the price of these flag-equipped Nike shoes to skyrocket, as they’re currently selling for over $2,000 on aftermarket sites like StockX. Take another look at the forgone design below, and stay tuned for more info as it’s available.