Ducey to pull Nike incentives amidst company pulling ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ sneakers

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that he ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars provided to encourage Nike to open a manufacturing plant in the state.

“Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major Nike investment,” Ducey tweeted. “Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours… 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’s decision to withdraw all financial incentives comes after Nike’s decision to pull its sneakers featuring the ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ after former NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick told the company it was a symbol that others consider offensive.

Kaepernick, a Nike endorser and the face of a Nike advertising campaign, said he felt the flag of the American Revolution is offensive for its connection to an era of slavery, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The heels of Nike’s Fourth of July sneaker show a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle, commonly referred to as the ‘Betsy Ross flag.’ Photo: Nike

Others on social media shared similar concerns.

“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag,” a Nike spokeswoman told the WSJ.

Nike was planning to buy an existing building and invest at least $184.5 million in the first phase of construction on a new manufacturing plant in Goodyear.

The plant was expected to employ more than 500 people in full-time manufacturing roles.

“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision,” Ducey wrote on Twitter. “I am embarrassed for Nike.”

“And finally, it shouldn’t take a controversy over a shoe for our kids to know who Betsy Ross is,” he continued. “A founding mother. Her story should be taught in all American schools. In the meantime, it’s worth googling her.”

Nike has not commented on Ducey’s decision.

Emily Richardson

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