Disturbances prompt cancellations of some Nike releases (Annalisa Alzona)
[Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET] Concerns about disturbances among large crowds waiting to buy special-edition Nike shoes tied to this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game prompted stores in several states to cancel the releases, media reports say.
Of particular interest among many would-be shoppers, according to the reports, was the $220 Nike Foamposite One Galaxy, a space-themed, glow-in-the dark shoe that nods to the space legacy of Florida, where this weekend’s game is happening in Orlando.
In Orlando on Thursday night, a Foot Locker House of Hoops store at Florida Mall cancelled a special 11 p.m. opening after police were called to handle a crowd of about 1,200 people, CNN affiliates Bay News 9 and WFTV reported.
The crowd outside the mall was moved across the street before the late-night opening. But at one point, people rushed toward the store, which was to sell the Foamposite One and other All-Star-related releases, the affiliates reported.
“People tried running over the cops. People tried just getting into that line,” witness Youssef Abounouadar told WFTV. “Everyone ran to the door, and it started getting really hectic.”
Law enforcement officers in riot gear pushed back the crowd, the store did not open Thursday night, and the release of the Foamposite One there Friday was canceled, the affiliates reported. No injuries or arrests were reported.
A message on a Foot Locker website said the company was canceling All-Star weekend shoe releases at seven malls in four states Friday because of unspecified “safety concerns.” Besides the one at Orlando’s Florida Mall, the cancellations included stores in Tampa and Pembroke Pines, Florida; Morrow, Georgia; Hyattsville, Maryland; and Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.
The release also was cancelled at a store in the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge on Friday morning, CNN affiliate WAFB reported. A witness told WAFB that authorities sent home a crowd of more than 100 people because the would-be shoppers wouldn’t line up in an orderly fashion.
A call to Foot Locker’s corporate offices wasn’t immediately returned.
In an e-mailed response to a call seeking information about the cancellations, Nike said that it encouraged “anyone wishing to purchase our product to do so in a respectful and safe manner” and that “consumer safety and security is of paramount importance.”
One of the cancellations was at Tampa’s University Mall, where police called off a midnight release because of concerns about a crowd of 800 to 1,000 people that gathered there Thursday night, CNN affiliate WTSP reported.
Kingsley Boateng, a witness, told WTSP that the release was canceled after people “tried to bum rush the door.”
At the Hyattsville, Maryland, mall, one person was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct after a large crowd gathered there, CNN affiliate WUSA reported Friday morning.
At the Southlake Mall in Morrow, Georgia, the Foot Locker House of Hoops store will be closed Friday because of safety concerns surrounding the shoe releases, a mall representative told CNN.
The Foamposite One was one of 17 types of shoes that Foot Locker House of Hoops stores were releasing over the weekend.