Kaepernick has been a political polarizing figure in sports after he decided not to stand for the national anthem during a 2016 NFL preseason football game, in a protest against racial injustice. His actions have been widely defended as an exercise of his freedom of speech. He hasn't played in the league since that 2016 season after the San Francisco 49ers failed to re-sign the former quarterback.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a tweet that he will order the state’s commerce authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars for Nike to locate in the state after the shoe company said it’s dropping its Betsy Ross American flag sneakers.
Nike has been planning to build a manufacturing plant on metro Phoenix’s west side, which is expected to bring 500 jobs to the area, according to The Arizona Republic.
Images of the shoes had been spread on sneaker sites and social media ahead of the scheduled release, and some fans had been eager to buy the new Air Max. Along with a red, white, and blue color scheme, it featured an embroidered flag on the heel bearing 13 stars for the 13 original US colonies.
But on social media — particularly the Instagram account for Sneaker News — critics said the flag also carries racist history.
Are you against the sneakers' flag?
In recent years the American flag has also been used for political purposes. A 2018 story by The Outline noted the flag was on display in the home of a member of white nationalist group Identity Evropa.
In 2016, students at a high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, displayed the Betsy Ross flag along with a Trump campaign flag. The students' school superintendent later apologized to parents.
We can assure you, dear reader, this is a no country for old flags.