In a decision that will thrust Nike into the spotlight of corporations walking a tightrope between product and historic symbolism, the athletic giant has pulled an American flag-themed shoe from circulation after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick expressed concern to the company about selling apparel he says features a slave-era emblem.
But Nike will not like what Arizona’s governor decided to do.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday he’s withdrawing all financial incentive dollars to have Nike Opens a New Window. 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.
Nike has planned a massive shoe manufacturing plant in Goodyear, with an initial investment of $184.5 million. The plant would create over 500 full-time jobs.
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” Ducey tweeted early Tuesday morning regarding its decision to nix the Betsy Ross sneakers. “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.
“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. It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.
“Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here. 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.
“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.”
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