Nike stocks ended on a high note after controversy over ‘Betsy Ross flag’ sneaker

  • Nike stocks ended the week with a boost after the company faced a few days of controversy.
  • The company sparked widespread backlash after it decided to pull a design featuring an American flag that former NFL player and Nike campaign face Colin Kaepernick said was offensive.
  • The sneakers featured an American Revolution-era American flag that Kaepernick said had ties to slavery and has risen in popularity among some white supremacists.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Nike stocks ended on a high note after days of controversy over a sneaker design that featured a divisive design on an American-flag themed shoe.

The company’s shares closed at $86.82 on Friday, up from $84.53 on July 2. The boost came one day after the company pulled its Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July.

The shoes featured a version of the US flag with 13 white stars created during the American Revolution, which is widely referred to as the “Betsy Ross flag.” Former NFL star and Nike campaign face Colin Kaepernick pushed back on the design as offensive.

The decision to pull the shoe sparked outrage particularly among conservatives, who dismissed Kaepernick’s concerns that the flag had historical links to the era of slavery in American history and has been since embraced by white supremacists.

Shares experienced an initial slide in the wake of the controversy, particularly after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced he was withdrawing financial incentives for a Nike manufacturing plant to protest the company scrapping the design.

“Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major @Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ,” Ducey wrote on tweeted, referencing the company’s decision, “And then this news broke yesterday afternoon.”

Read more: Conservatives are boycotting Nike after it pulled a controversial US flag sneaker, and some want a ‘not so woke’ alternative

The company responded to the controversy by saying in a statement it had pulled the shoe so as to not distract from July 4, and insisted it was “proud of its American heritage.”

“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 said in a statement. “We already employ 35,000 people in the U.S. and remain committed to creating jobs in the US, including a significant investment in an additional manufacturing center which will create 500 new jobs.”

The shoes reached resale prices of up to 20 times the original retail price were reselling online for 20 times the original retail price after the sportswear brand pulled the sneakers. Now, a top sneaker reseller has removed the shoe.

This isn’t the first time that controversy has served up profits for the company, as millennial investors flocked to buy shares in September 2018, after Nike released an ad starring Kaepernick that celebrated the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan by championing social justice efforts.

The ad was particularly divisive as it came in the wake of Kaepernick spearheading the movement of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest the state of national politics.