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Nike's yanking of Betsy Ross sneaker sparks controversy

Nike (NKE) — the global footwear and apparel giant — has decided to halt the release of a sneaker featuring the 13-star version of the American flag made by Betsy Ross after criticism from NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The sneaker in question is the Nike Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July. As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the former San Francisco 49er–turned activist believes that Nike shouldn’t sell a shoe that depicts the revolutionary flag of the 1770s because it harkens back to a time when slavery existed in the U.S.

"Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag," a Nike spokesperson told Yahoo Finance.

Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July —NIKE

Arizona’s response

In response to Nike’s actions, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Tuesday announced that he will ask the state's chamber of commerce to pull financial incentives for Nike after the company decided not to release the shoe.

He tweeted: "Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism," he continued. "Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here."


(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 8, 2018 a Nike Ad featuring American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick is on display in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Though the sneaker has been pulled the select few who were able to snag a pair ahead of release will likely cash in on the resale market. The shoe is currently selling for more than $2,000 on online marketplace StockX.

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49er, has been linked with Nike since he was featured in the company's controversial ad campaign last September that subtly centered around the NFL kneeling controversy, urging people to "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."

This is not the first time that Nike has canceled the release of a shoe due to external pressure. The swoosh brand recently shelved a sneaker in China because of the designer of the shoe support for the Hong Kong extradition law protest.

On June 27 the Oregon-headquartered company released fiscal year Q4 earnings. While Nike beat on revenue, it missed the mark on earnings.

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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