Nike stops release of "racist" July 4 shoe featuring the Betsy Ross flag

4 July 2019, 11:44

Are these Nike trainers racist?
Are these Nike trainers racist? Picture: Nike
Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

Are these Nike trainers racist?

Nike has just axed the release of a pair of Air Max 1 trainers created for American Independence Day (July 4) after the design was accused of being "racist".

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The shoes feature the US flag's traditional red, white and blue colouring and is thought to have been designed by Betsy Ross, although this is often disputed. It also has 13 stripes and 13 stars on it to represent the original US colonies.

The flag was created in 1792, a time when the slave trade was expanding. And since then, this version of the flag has been used by white nationalist extremist groups like the American Nazi Party.

When the design surfaced online, it was called out by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Colin is known for his political activism after fighting against systematic racism against African-Americans by kneeling in protest during the National Anthem. The sportsman also fronted Nike's Just Do It 30th anniversary campaign.

Colin told the sportswear brand that he found the flag offensive because of its links with slavery, the The Wall Street Journal reports.

Nike has now confirmed in a statement that the trainers wouldn't go on sale on July 1 as originally planned "based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday". However, somehow the trainers have found their ways online anyway.

According to the BBC, on Tuesday (July 2) the trainers were selling for over $1,500 on StockX, an online marketplace for trainers.

Nike's move to cancel the trainers' release caused a huge debate online.

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