StockX pulls Nike 'Betsy Ross flag' sneakers from resale site, cites company values

StockX CEO Scott Cutler on Tuesday said the sneaker resale site would prohibit further sales of Nike’s “Betsy Ross flag” shoes, hours after the brand's decision to cancel the product release sent prices surging on the secondary platform.

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“We have decided to remove the Nike Air Max 1 USA from our site today and prohibit any further sales of this item on StockX as the sale of this product on our platform does not align with our value system,” StockX CEO Scott Cutler wrote on Twitter.

StockX’s landing page for the Nike Air Max 1 USA sneaker displayed an error message as of 3:30 pm ET. Prior to the company’s decision, leaked pairs of the sneaker were selling for as much as $3,000 each on StockX, and more than a dozen pairs had sold for $1,000 or more.

The sneaker featured a “Betsy Ross” American flag with 13 stars, a design which dates back to the Revolutionary War. Nike pulled the sneaker from stores just days before it was scheduled to launch after facing criticism from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a Nike endorser and prominent social activist.

Kaepernick reportedly told Nike executives that the sneaker could be construed as offensive because it featured a flag design from an era in which slavery was legal in the United States. Nike’s decision led Ariz. Gov. Doug Ducey to withdraw incentives for a planned Nike manufacturing plant in the state, which is expected to create more than 500 new jobs.

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“We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products and services. NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday,” Nike said in a statement.

Nike did not address Kaepernick’s reported role in the decision. Shares were down slightly in trading Tuesday.

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"Nike is a company proud of its American heritage and our continuing engagement supporting thousands of American athletes including the US Olympic team and US Soccer teams,” the company added. “We already employ 35,000 people in the U.S. and remain committed to creating jobs in the U.S., including a significant investment in an additional manufacturing center which will create 500 new jobs.”