On the heels of Nike canceling a sneaker that featured a version of the American flag from the late 18th century, Nine Line Apparel based in Savannah has called for a boycott of the company.
“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,” Nike said in a statement to CNN Business.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that the athletic-wear company delivered the sneakers to retailers, but asked stores to return them to Nike after the company received a complaint from former NFL star Colin Kaepernick. The Journal indicated Kaepernick said he and others found the shoe offensive.
Veteran-owned Nine Line Apparel has responded by releasing a Betsy Ross flag T-shirt and calling for a boycott of Nike, along with the hashtag #NoToNike.
“Nike seeks profit through controversy, but with absolutely no regard for the consequences,” said Army CPT (ret.) Tyler Merritt, CEO of Nine Line Apparel. “In its corporatist wake, it leaves behind anti-American sentiment and division, harming our country. But since Nike has no interest in displaying the Betsy Ross flag, a classic symbol of freedom and unity, then we proudly will. How far Nike has fallen. It was once an iconic American company. Now it can’t even stomach associating itself with one of the greatest moments in our country’s history, when individuals of diverse backgrounds put differences aside to fight tyranny and secure liberty, even as it continues to outsource jobs to China. The American people should support the red, white, and blue and boycott Nike and join our #NoToNike campaign. Nike says ‘just do it.’ We say just stand – stand for your beliefs and for your country.”
The Betsy Ross shoe was set to be released Monday for $140, according to Sneakernews.com. The website included photos of a shoe that featured a version of the American flag with 13 stars organized in a circle and 13 stripes. That version of the flag, according to the Smithsonian, was used in the United States from 1777 to 1795.
It is unclear if any of the shoes were sold.
This is the second instance of Nike removing a product in recent days. The company stopped selling some products in China after a fashion designer’s support for protests in Hong Kong sparked a social media backlash.
Nike said in a statement at the time that it had decided to remove some of its goods “based on feedback from Chinese consumers.”
In May, according to footwearnews.com, Nike canceled an Air Force 1 sneaker after an indigenous group in Panama objected to its design.