Nike is nixing plans to release a sneaker in celebration of July Fourth after NFL star Colin Kaepernick spoke out against using the Revolutionary War-era flag design.

The news, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes as the company had planned to release the Air Max 1 USA for sale this week, featuring the early flag designed by Betsy Ross with a circle of 13 stars for the 13 colonies. 

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The Journal reported that Nike had asked retailers to return the product without explanation after shipping it out. 

“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 to The Hill.  

Nike also touted itself as "a company proud of its American heritage," while highlighting its "continuing engagement supporting thousands of American athletes including the US Olympic team and US Soccer teams" and its employment of 35,000 people in the United States.

The company did not mention whether Kaepernick had been a factor behind its decision to pull the sneakers.

Kaepernick, a Nike endorser and activist, reportedly reached out to the company after images of the design surfaced online and said the flag used was an offensive symbol connected to an era of slavery, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

 The early flag has also been appropriated by some extremist groups opposed to increasing diversity, The Wall Street Journal reports. The outlet noted a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people spoke out against its use after a Michigan school district apologized when students waved it at a football game in 2016. 
 
The outlet said Kaepernick declined to comment for the story. 
 
Kaepernick made headlines after he began kneeling on the field during the national anthem in 2016 to draw attention to racial inequality.
 
Nike made Kaepernick the face of an ad campaign in September.
 
-- Updated at 4:21 p.m.