Doug Ducey launched a blistering shot at Nike after the shoe company heeded the advice of Colin Kaepernick in pulling a sneaker with the Betsy Ross flag, but now the Arizona governor appears to be taking it back.
Last week, Ducey had announced on Twitter that he directed Arizona’s commerce authority to pull all financial incentives the state had offered Nike to build a plant in the city of Goodyear. The Republican governor had joined in with many others on the right in slamming Nike for its decision to pull the sneaker, due to what some saw as racist implications with the Betsy Ross flag.
“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 wrote in his tweet.
His threat was met with criticism, including some in his own state who said that Arizona could use the economic boost that the Nike investment would create.
As NBC News reported, Ducey now seems to have changed his mind and said in a Thursday press release that plans for the plant were moving forward. He bragged about the 500 full-time jobs that would be created and the $184 million that would be invested in Goodyear, not making any reference to Nike’s decision about the Betsy Ross sneaker design.
There were already signs that Ducey was over his criticism of Nike. During the Fourth of July, a viral photo made the rounds on social media showing Ducey wearing a pair of Nike sneakers at a party, this coming just days after he blasted the company. As The Hill reported, the picture of Ducey sporting a pair of black and white Nike sneakers to the Fourth of July celebration was seized on by Coconino County Democrats, which appeared to mock Gov. Ducey by adding the hashtag #nikeboycott to a Twitter post sharing the photo.
Arizona Gov. Ducey has change of heart for Nike following Fourth of July shoe controversy, now says, "Arizona is open for business, and we welcome Nike to our state." https://t.co/JCcHkFIvCP— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 12, 2019
Many conservatives have taken aim at Nike since the company made Colin Kaepernick the face of a campaign last year that focuses on social advocacy among players. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback became a lightning rod for criticism after he started taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against minorities. Nike’s decision earlier this month to pull the aforementioned Betsy Ross shoes after Kaepernick reportedly raised concerns that it represented a symbol of a period of American slavery was met with criticism and some boycotts from the right.