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Arizona Makes a Move Against Nike Over Axed Flag Sneakers

The company is facing a backlash after pulling the shoe at Colin Kaepernick's urging
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2019 11:36 AM CDT
Backlash, Support for Nike After It Pulls 'Betsy Ross' Shoe
Immigrants raise their right hands and take the oath of citizenship of the United States at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, during a naturalization ceremony on Flag Day, Friday, June 14, 2019.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

An uproar quickly sprang up following Nike's decision to pull a planned patriotic shoe days before the 4th of July. The shoe featured the "Betsy Ross flag," which has a circle of 13 stars to represent the 13 colonies, and Colin Kaepernick reportedly urged the sportswear company to cancel the shoe's release because that flag comes from an era of slavery. The company has since confirmed the "Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July" will not be released due to the "old version" of the flag featured on it. Almost immediately, there were consequences—as well as support for Nike. The latest:

  • Arizona's Republican governor, Doug Ducey, issued a nine-tweet thread Tuesday saying that "a major @Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ" was supposed to be announced Tuesday, but after this news broke, "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."

  • NBC News reports Nike had been planning to build a manufacturing plant in Arizona, and Goodyear was going to waive up to almost $1 million in review and permit fees and reimburse up to $1 million for the jobs created. It's not clear whether Nike will move forward with the plans now.
  • More from Ducey's Twitter thread: "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. 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."
  • Laura Ingraham also publicly swore off Nike.
  • And Business Insider reports that many on social media are with her, calling for a boycott of the "unpatriotic" company.
  • But in a column at Fast Company, Jeff Beer says Nike was right to pull the shoe featuring our 1776 flag stitched on the heels. "While it is a symbol of the American revolution, it’s also been co-opted by white nationalist groups over the years, including the American Nazi Party," Beer says of that version of the flag. Sure, it's a muddy issue, "but what Nike did here is what those in power should, listening to and considering the perspective of people from historically marginalized groups."
  • Predictably, the shoes are now selling for $2,500 on the secondary market, Bloomberg reports. (Nike had already shipped them to stores before pulling them from release and asking stores to return them.)
  • Another reason you could be offended by the shoes? Buried in Jim Swift's Bulwark column (which takes issue with both sides) is this line: "As we’re so close to July 4, a friendly reminder that the shoes are a violation of the flag code. If you love America like I do, let the soldiers wear the flag."
  • Will this ultimately help or hurt Nike? John Hinderaker's take at Powerline: "Anti-Americanism Is Working for Nike." But Instapundit somewhat disagrees: "Nike was stupid to go along with this, and it’s already costing them real money. But the people running Nike will get the approval of their peers, and that’s what matters." As for just who is running Nike, a few on the right, including Hot Air's Andrew Malcolm, theorize Kaepernick is in charge now.
  • Ted Cruz's take: "It’s a good thing @Nike only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag.... @NFL #HappyFourth."
(Nike had a previous Kaepernick-related backlash.)

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