Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Changes Course on Nike After ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ Controversy

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has reversed his stance on Nike.

A week after lambasting the sportswear giant for pulling a pair of sneakers featuring the Betsy Ross flag, the politician took to Twitter to share the “good news” of Nike’s manufacturing plant in the city of Goodyear.

“This is good news for Arizona and for Goodyear,” Ducey tweeted. “500 plus jobs. Over $184 million in capital investment. Arizona is open for business, and we welcome Nike to our state.”

The comment comes a week after Ducey announced that he would be withdrawing a $1 million incentive in tax breaks for Nike’s proposed plant in the state. He criticized the Swoosh for “[yielding to the] current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism” after it cancelled the release of its Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July shoes, featuring an early design of the United States flag commonly called the Betsy Ross flag. (Nike endorser and former NFL star Colin Kaepernick reportedly informed brand officials that the flag’s symbolism is offensive to some people, including himself, considering its connection to an era of slavery.)

“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 wrote on Twitter at the time. “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.”

However, Mayor Georgia Lord had stated that same week that the council had unanimously approved the job creation agreement with Nike and would “honor the commitment” made in the deal.

“It has been a focus of Goodyear City Council to build a strong economy for years to come, and we will continue to work hard to bring the kind of high quality jobs that our residents deserve,” she said in a video.

For its part, Nike said in a statement last week that it already employs 35,000 people in the U.S. and that it “[remains] committed to creating jobs in the U.S., including a significant investment in an additional manufacturing center which will create 500 new jobs.”

On top of those full-time positions, the athletic business promised to invest upwards of $180 million toward infrastructure improvements in the city. The city council expects Nike’s new facility to have an estimated economic impact of $483 million over a period of five years.

Watch FN’s interview with Nike trainer Joe Holder.

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