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It’s been a busy 24 hours for Nike. The day began with great news: They unveiled plans Monday for a multimillion-dollar manufacturing plant outside of Phoenix in the city of Goodyear, AZ. This would be Nike’s third manufacturing facility in the US.
The expected 500-plus jobs motivated city leaders to waive nearly $1 million in plan review and permit fees, and reimburse Nike another $1 million for the jobs created. “We are delighted to welcome Nike to Goodyear,” Councilwoman Wally Campbell said. “We look forward to a long-lasting relationship.”
That was before another story hit the athletic apparel giant. Later on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Nike pulled a sneaker featuring a Betsy Ross American flag because company pitchman Colin Kaepernick decided it was offensive.
The Air Max 1 USA was designed to celebrate Independence Day and was to go on sale this week. But Nike suddenly asked for all the shoes to be returned without explanation.
“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 said. Kaepernick claimed to take offense because that flag was designed during the slavery era.
Arizona’s governor was not amused. Taking to Twitter in the wee hours of Tuesday, Republican Doug Ducey said the following:
Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ. And then this news broke yesterday afternoon.
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. 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.
Nike still hasn’t decided on a facility in Goodyear. “The company is in the final stages of a real estate transaction,” city spokeswoman Tammy Vo said. “So nothing final yet on a location.”
Now Nike and Arizona have to decide if it’s a partnership worth having.