Ducey said the state will cancel the financial incentives it had offered Nike to open a plant outside of Phoenix.

By Emily Caron
July 02, 2019

Arizona governor Doug Ducey criticized Nike on Tuesday for its decision to cancel the release of a Fourth of July-themed sneaker featuring an early American flag designed by Betsy Ross.

Nike decided to pull the shoe after former NFL quarterback and Nike athlete Colin Kaepernick intervened, the Wall Street Journal reported

Nike had planned to release the Air Max 1 USA—featuring Ross's flag, with 13 stripes and 13 stars representing the original 13 American colonies—for sale this week. Kaepernick, who is the face of the company's "Just Do It" 30th anniversary campaign, reportedly voiced concerns that the design could be seen as offensive due to its association with an era of slavery.

The flag has also been used by some extremist groups opposed to increasing diversity, according to the WSJ.

In a series of tweets shared Tuesday morning, Ducey ripped the company's decision and said the state would withhold incentive dollars that it had offered Nike to open a shoe manufacturing plant outside Phoenix. Nike had planned for an initial investment of $184.5 million in the plant which would create over 500 full-time jobs, per ABC15.

"Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major @Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ," Ducey said in a statement. "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. 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."

"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," he continued. "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 company has yet to respond to Ducey's comments. 

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