Nike has reportedly nixed plans to release a sneaker in celebration of July Fourth after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick spoke out against the design, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
According to the WSJ, Nike had planned to release the Air Max 1 USA for sale this week, featuring the early flag designed by Betsy Ross. The design included 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 stars to represent the original U.S. colonies.
"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 told the WSJ.
Kaepernick, who is the face of the company's "Just Do It" 30th anniversary campaign, reportedly reached out to Nike with concerns that the design could be seen as offensive due to its association with an era of slavery. According to the WSJ, the flag has also been used by some extremist groups opposed to increasing diversity.
A former 49ers quarterback, Kaepernick made headlines after he began kneeling on the field during the national anthem in 2016 to draw attention to racial inequality. Since then, he has become a polarizing figure and has gone from NFL quarterback to an outspoken advocate for social justice.
In February, Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid settled a lawsuit alleging that the NFL had colluded to keep him off the field for their political activism.