Sportswear giant Nike said on Tuesday that it had withdrawn a shoe displaying an early version of the American flag, amidst reports of former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick warning the company that the flag was associated with slavery.
Nike had unveiled the design featuring an American Revolution-era design known as the ‘Betsy Ross flag’ to commemorate the U.S. Independence Day on July 4.
But The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Kaepernick, who had led kneeling protests against racial inequality during the national anthems of NFL games in 2016, said that the design featuring 13 white stars in a circle was associated with a period of slavery legalised in the US after independence from Britain.
However, Nike said in a statement that it withdrew the design on “concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”