On Tuesday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, decided to take the fight to Nike, announcing that the state would be withdrawing financial incentives promised to Nike. The announcement comes after the company had reportedly dropped an American flag-style shoe, because former NFL backup Colin Kaepernick said it was “offensive.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Nike was forced to pull an American flag-themed shoe called the “Betsy Ross” from production after NFL burnout turned political activist Kaepernick complained about the shoe.
Kaepernick, who stood out not for is play on the field, but rather his political demonstrations, fought for racial inequality before signing a multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with Nike last year.
“The sneaker giant created the Air Max 1 USA in celebration of the July Fourth holiday, and it was slated to go on sale this week. The heel of the shoe featured a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle, a design created during the American Revolution and commonly referred to as the Betsy Ross flag,” WSJ reports.
The shoe shipped out to retailers this week, but Nike quickly recalled the shoe and demanded retailers return their stock, leaving customers confused. The shoe isn’t available for sale on the brand’s website and a statement from Nike said only that the company decided against releasing the sneaker because it featured an “old version of the American flag.”
The truth, however, came out that Nike was doing this at the request of Kaepernick himself, who had seen the shoe online and went straight to cry to Nike’s top dogs that the shoe hurt his feelings.
“After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery, the people said,” per the WSJ. “Some users on social media responded to posts about the shoe with similar concerns. Mr. Kaepernick declined to comment.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey made the announcement in a Series of Tweets on Tuesday.
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” Gov. Ducey posted. “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,” the thread continued. “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,” announced Ducey. “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,” the courageous Republican concluded.
“Nike reportedly planned on investing $185 million to open a manufacturing facility in Goodyear, Arizona, which would employ about 500 people, according to city records,” the Journal noted, adding that the Goodyear City Council, on Monday, “approved a package of incentives that would reimburse the company about $1 million in planning fees and about $4,000 per full-time employee Nike hires, according to city records.”