After NFL player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told Nike executives that their shoe featuring an early American flag was offensive, the apparel company yanked the sneaker from production. Less than 24 hours later, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey entered the culture war fray, announcing that his state is withdrawing financial incentives it had offered Nike to move manufacturing to Arizona.
“Arizona’s economy is doing just fine without Nike. We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history,” Ducey tweeted.
The state was set to announce their agreement with Nike to build a factory in Goodyear, Arizona on Tuesday. In a long thread of tweets on Tuesday morning, Ducey said he was disappointed in Nike’s “terrible decision” and shamed them for disrespecting Betsy Ross and American history.
It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it. 6/
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) July 2, 2019
Nike planned to open a multi-million-dollar manufacturing plant in Goodyear, just west of Phoenix, Arizona, that would employ more than 500 workers. The Arizona Republic reported that the city agreed to waive $1 million in permit fees, and to reimburse Nike another $1 million for the jobs created.
The Nike shoe at the center of the controversy, the “Air Max 1 USA,” is a special Independence Day edition that had been slated to be released on Monday, featuring the original American flag designed by Ross. Advertisements said it would retail for $140. The Wall Street Journal reported that Nike delivered the sneakers to retailers, but asked stores to return them after Kaepernick’s complaint that the flag was an offensive symbol because of its origins in an era of slavery.
“It shouldn’t take a controversy over a shoe for our kids to know who Betsy Ross is. A founding mother. Her story should be taught in all American schools. In the meantime, it’s worth googling her,” Ducey said.