Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is pulling the plug, it would appear, on financial incentives for Nike to build a manufacturing plant in Goodyear. At least, that's what he says he "ordered" the Arizona Commerce Authority to do.
Ducey's outrage comes following news that the company was reportedly halting the sale of a shoe it had created to celebrate the Fourth of July. The shoe features the original U.S. flag with 13 stars in a circle on its heel.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, in which he linked to a Wall Street Journal article with the news, Ducey said "today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ."
Instead, Ducey said, "words cannot express my disappointment" in Nike's "terrible decision" to stop the sale of the so-called "Besty Ross Flag" sneaker.
"I am embarrassed for Nike," he said.
In the article attached to Ducey's social media statement, the Wall Street Journal reports the move came at Colin Kaepernick's urging. The social justice advocate and former NFL quarterback reached out to the company saying that particular version of the American flag was offensive because of its connection to an era of slavery, WSJ reports.
Nike said in a statement that it had "chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July" because of the "old version of the American flag." The company, however, did not address whether Kaepernick had anything to do with the move in its response to TEGNA.
On Monday, the Goodyear City Council approved an agreement with Nike to build a manufacturing facility that could bring more than 500 jobs to the Valley. City documents show Goodyear estimates the deal would bring in more than $7 million in direct revenue to the city.
Goodyear agreed to reimburse the company for plan review and permit fees and for every qualified employee it hires, the documents show. The maximum amount that would be waived, or the maximum amount the city would pay, would be just over $2 million, according to the documents.
So why would a governor who has said before that "Arizona is open for business" want to pull the financial incentives from a mega company like Nike?
Ducey said Nike, which he called an "iconic American brand and American company, should be, along with other American businesses, "proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it."
He said the United States' system of government has allowed Nike 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," Ducey said.
Ducey said he has told the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw "all financial incentive dollars" that the state was providing to Nike.
"Nike has made its decision, and now we're making ours," Ducey said, adding Arizona's economy is "doing just fine without Nike."
The Arizona Commerce Authority released a statement Tuesday saying it was withdrawing an up to $1 million grant offered by its Competes Fund.
"At the Governor’s direction, we are withdrawing an up to $1 million grant offer from the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Arizona Competes Fund. Unlike other programs in statute that are eligible to any and all companies, including Nike — this is purely discretionary."
"We don’t need to suck up to companies that consciously denigrate our nation’s history," Ducey said.
12 News has reached out to the City of Goodyear.
TEGNA contributed to this report.