Nike has withdrawn a new Independence Day-themed Air Max sneaker design. The design was reportedly nixed after Colin Kaepernick raised concerns about the use of the “Betsy Ross” flag—a symbol associated with the American Revolution and an era of slavery. The flag has since been used by white supremacist groups. Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who many believed was iced out of the NFL for taking the knee before games to protest police brutality, was featured in a Nike ad campaign last year.
In response to Nike pulling the sneaker, Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey canceled a $1 million grant for a new factory, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that Nike “only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Nike, saying he would place the first order for the shoes if Nike reverses its decision.