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Julián Castro says he was "glad to see" Nike pull Betsy Ross flag shoes

Castro: July 4 parade is a “waste of money”

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro praised Nike's decision to pull shoes with the 13-star American flag in an interview with CBSN, saying he was "glad to see that."

"I was glad to see that. And my hope is that they didn't just do it to do it. They understand the significance there. And look, there are a lot of things in our history that are still very painful," Castro said. "The Confederate Flag that still flies in some places, and is used as a symbol. And I believe we need to move towards an inclusive America that understands that pain."

Nike has walked back its decision to release a red, white and blue version of its Air Max 1 sneakers ahead of the July 4 holiday. According to The Wall Street Journal, that choice was made following concerns raised by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is the face of Nike's "Just Do It" 30th anniversary campaign.

The shoe's design included a depiction of the "Betsy Ross flag," which features 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 stars to represent the original U.S. colonies.

Kaepernick reportedly reached out to Nike after photos emerged of the shoes, saying the design could be seen as offensive due to its association with an era of slavery. The flag first emerged around the time of the American Revolution. 

The decision to pull the shoes has stirred outrage on the right, including from prominent Republican politicians. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday said he's rescinding financial incentives recently offered to the maker of athletic shoes to build a $185 million plant and bring 500 jobs to the state.

The shoe company was also bashed by U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, a state where Nike already has two manufacturing plants. The lawmaker in a tweet decried Nike as "anti-American, pure and simple."

Nike is also facing the wrath of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, who took to social media to say that he's giving up the brand after wearing Nikes since childhood. "Can anyone recommend a good sneaker co that's not so woke?" Cruz asked in a tweet.

Grace Segers, April Siese and Kate Gibson contributed to this report.

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