Arizona Gov. Ducey to withdraw Nike plant incentives after Colin Kaepernick, 'Betsy Ross Flag' sneaker report
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday he’s withdrawing all financial incentive dollars to have Nike open a manufacturing plant in the state after a report said the sneaker company pulled its “Betsy Ross Flag” shoes following Colin Kaepernick’s criticism.
Ducey slammed Nike in a series of tweets, saying he was disappointed by the company’s “terrible decision.” The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Nike pulled its Air Max 1 USA, which featured a Betsy Ross flag, after the former NFL star reached out to the firm and said the 13-star flag created during the American Revolution was offensive and carried slavery connotations.
"Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag," the company said in a statement to FOX Business. They did not directly address Ducey's tweets.
“Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major @Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ,” Ducey began his tweets. He then pointed to the Journal report about sneakers being pulled allegedly due to Kaepernick’s criticism of the footwear.
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike. Nike is an iconic American brand and American company. This country, our system of government and free enterprise have allowed them to prosper and flourish,” the Arizona governor continued.
“Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism,” Ducey tweeted. “It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.”
Ducey said he ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw “all financial incentive dollars” the state was going to provide for Nike to build a manufacturing plant.
“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,” the governor added. “And finally, 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.”
The Goodyear City Council on Monday signed off on an agreement to allow Nike to build a multimillion-dollar facility in the state. The plant would add more than 500 full-time jobs in Goodyear, with employees reportedly earning an average yearly salary of $48,514, including overtime and bonuses.
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“We are delighted to welcome Nike to Goodyear,” Councilwoman Wally Campbell said, according to AZ Central. “We look forward to a long-lasting relationship.”
The Nike incident comes more than a month after Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis said his store in Statesville, North Carolina, will not take down its 3,200-square-foot American flag.
The city of Statesville filed a lawsuit against Gander RV and its parent company, Camping World, for violating a city ordinance by flying the flag. In a statement, the city said the company had previously applied for and received a permit for a compliant 1,000-square-foot flag.
“We have flown this flag for a long time,” Lemonis said during an interview on "Bulls & Bears” in May. “As I told the city…it’s not coming down under any circumstance.”
FOX Business' Henry Fernandez contributed to this report.