Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday the state would be canceling the incentives offered in a deal with Nike in response to the athletic company scrapping plans for a Betsy Ross-inspired sneaker
The sneakers, featuring a U.S. flag with 13 stars on each heel, reportedly was canned after former football player and political activist Colin Kaepernick said the design could be seen as an offensive symbol of slavery.
Mr. Ducey said the state was supposed to announce a deal with Nike but then “this news broke yesterday afternoon.”
“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 Arizona Republican tweeted.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he wrote.
Nike claimed the shoe was canceled because it “featured the old version of the American flag.”
Mr. Kaepernick was featured in a Nike advertising campaign last August stating to: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The 31-year-old former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016, the same season he began protesting “The Star-Spangled Banner” by kneeling during the pre-game performances, blaming America for racist cops killing black people.
• Victor Morton contributed to this report.