PHOENIX — In a series of tweets early Tuesday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced that he has ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars to encourage Nike to add a manufacturing plant in the state.
Ducey's decision stems from a Wall Street Journal report that said former NFL quarterback-turned-social justice activist Colin Kaepernick convinced Nike to pull its sneakers featuring an early American flag commonly known as the Betsy Ross flag. Kaepernick reportedly found the shoe to be offensive.
"Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag," Nike said in a statement to CNN Business following the WSJ report.
Nike has planned a massive shoe manufacturing plant in Goodyear, Arizona, 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."
Kaepernick is a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who famously declined to stand for the national anthem before an NFL game in a protest of racial inequality and police brutality in the United States. He became the face of a Nike ad campaign last year, with the slogan, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."