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Nike is defending its controversial decision to cancel a new line of Air Max sneakers that featured American flag decals on the back. The sneakers were a limited 4th of July edition.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that retired NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick complained about the design of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike USA sneakers.

Each sneaker featured an early version of the American flag, which was designed by Betsy Ross with a circle of 13 stars that represented the 13 original colonies.

A source told the WSJ that Kaepernick said the use of the American flag was “offensive” to all Black people because of the American flag’s “slavery connotations.”

Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey protested Nike’s decision by pulling financial incentives for a planned Nike factory to be built in his state.

Ducey ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw financial incentives for the new Nike factory.

“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision,” he said. “I am embarrassed for Nike.”

Nike, which had already shipped out 500 pairs of the sneakers, notified retailers that the sneakers were being recalled. The sneakers were selling like hotcakes on and One pair of the “Betsy Ross” Nikes sold for $2,500 online on Tuesday. Other pairs were selling for $250 or more online.

Nike released a second statement on Tuesday about the recall. The statement didn’t mention Kaepernick’s involvement in the decision.

Photo by Manny Carabel/Getty Images