Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) signaled her state is open to making a deal with Nike after Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) announced Tuesday that he will move to withdraw financial incentives for the athletic apparel giant’s planned manufacturing plant in the Phoenix-metro area.
“Hey @Nike, let’s talk,” Grisham wrote on Twitter in response to Ducey’s announcement that he had directed the Arizona Commerce Authority to cancel all financial incentives for the plant.
The move by Arizona’s Republican governor followed a Wall Street Journal report revealing former NFL anthem-protester and Nike pitchman Colin Kaepernick complained to Nike about its America-themed 4th of July sneakers featuring the “Betsy Ross” flag because he found it 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 regarding its decision.
Ducey took to Twitter to criticize Nike for ditching the sneakers and broke down his decision to pull state money from the company’s planned plant.
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” wrote Ducey. “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.”
The Republican went on:
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,” he added.
Nike plans to invest more than $184.5 million into the Goodyear plant. The investment is estimated to create at least 500 full-time jobs and $7.7 million in direct revenue for the city, according to the Arizona Republic. Its overall economic impact is estimated to be valued at more than $483 million in its first five years.