Arizona Gov. Slam-Dunks Nike: 'We Don’t Need to Suck Up to Companies' That Denigrate Our History
If you don't already live in Arizona, you may want to consider moving to that great state led by our new national folk hero Gov. Doug Ducey. Recognizing that principles are far more important than dollars, Gov. Ducey has instructed the Arizona Commerce Authority to withhold the financial incentive dollars earmarked to go to Nike. In a thread on Twitter, Ducey explained that his reason for the order was due to his "disappointment" at Nike's "terrible decision" to pull a Betsy Ross-themed shoe after Colin Kaepernick complained that the patriotic shoe was racist.
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. 8/
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) July 2, 2019
According to Kaepernick, the Betsy Ross flag containing only 13 stars is offensive because the flag is too closely connected to slavery. Nike, of course, folded, explaining in a statement to CBS News that the shoe company, "has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag."
First reported on by the Wall Street Journal, Nike apparently contacted retailers demanding the shoes be returned without any explanation as to why. However, WSJ sources confirm that the company did so only after Kaepernick contacted them with his concerns about the racist implications of the Betsy Ross shoe.
The reaction from all quarters has been swift and contentious. Ducey, though, put his money where his mouth is. Or, rather, he refused to hand over Arizona taxpayers' hard-earned money to a company eager to insult the country that enabled them to become successful.
In his opening tweet, Gov. Ducey laments that "Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona." He then explained that an announcement about a Nike investment in the state had originally been planned. After a series of tweets explaining Nike's decision to pull the Betsy Ross shoe and his disappointment with the company, he added, "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."
For the naysayers of Gov. Ducey, this isn't a First Amendment issue. No company, including Nike, has a constitutional right to financial incentives subsidized by taxpayers. Apart from either greed or a doubling down on their anti-American stance, nothing is stopping Nike from setting up shop in Arizona. Likewise, Ducey hasn't ordered Arizona stores to stop selling Nike products (he hasn't even come close to hinting that). Arizona residents remain free to purchase whatever they want from Nike.
It remains to be seen how this plays out — will Nike relent and cease and desist their anti-American stance? Or, is this a harbinger of how much more divided and contentious our country is going to become? The fact that a major American company would dare to spit on this country's history during the week of the Fourth of July most likely points us in the direction we're headed. Let's hope that more men and women in leadership around this country will take a stand like Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.