A Nike SB sneaker release was canceled this week after the shoes in question drew the ire of the MLB by referencing professional baseball teams.
The shoes are from the Unheardof x Anonymous x Nike SB Dunk collection, which is a tribute to the 1990 World Series in which the underdog Cincinnati Reds swept the Oakland A’s. There’s a Nike SB Dunk Low in Reds colors, complete with the team’s “Nasty Boys” nickname on the heels, and a Nike SB Dunk High in A’s colors.
The shoes make no overt reference to the teams in question. The since-removed Nike page on them does uses indirect language to communicate the theme, but that wasn’t enough to avoid a cease and desist from the MLB. After the collaborating stores Unheardof and Anonymous released their pairs this weekend, Nike SB accounts set to release the shoes on today’s wider launch date have been advised not to sell pairs, according to a source at a Nike SB retailer who wished to remain anonymous. The source says that the MLB caught wind of the release today and sent Nike a cease and desist.
Retailers that previously advertised the sneakers for sale online, like Premier in Grand Rapids, Mich., have since deleted tweets referencing them.
Nike SB is of course familiar with these sort of complaints, having long relied on cultural references for themed sneakers. Last year, it found itself in a similar ordeal with the scrapped Nike SB Dunk High “Black Sheep.”