Arizona Governor Cuts Nike Deal (And Jobs That Went With It!) After Nike Cuts American Flag Sneakers

<<enter caption here>> on October 19, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona.

Arizona Governor Cuts Nike Deal (And Jobs That Went With It!) After Nike Cuts American Flag Sneakers

Colin Kapernick reportedly spoke out against the shoes.

Published July 2, 2019

Written by Paul Meara

Nike and Colin Kaepernick are once again in the spotlight, but rather than it be about their “Just Do It” campaign, it’s about a shoe that’s sparking controversy.

The apparel and footwear giant is pulling an American flag-themed shoe from circulation after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick reportedly expressed his concern to the company about the sneaker. 

The flag is historically titled the “Betsy Ross Flag” and features 13 stars in a circle, which many claim represent America during a time when slavery was in full force. It’s also a flag hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan have historically paraded alongside the Confederate flag.

Nike spokesman Mark Rhodes released a statement on Monday, declaring: “Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag.” The company did not confirm it was Kaepenick’s influence that ultimately had the shoe yanked.

Last week, Nike began quietly recalling the shoes from stores after social media began buzzing about the controversial shoe. Conservatives and racists alike have been outraged at the shoe recall, which is odd considering many already burned their Nike apparel after the company collaborated with Kaep for their “Just Do It” campaign.

Perhaps one of the most consequential reactions to the shoe recall came from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey who, as a result, has reportedly ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all money that incentivised Nike’s plans to invest $184.5 million in a massive manufacturing plant in Goodyear, Arizona. According to ABC 15, the plant was reportedly going to create more than 500 jobs.

“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 a series of tweets. “It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it. Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours,” he continued. 

“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.”

He ended with, “And finally, it shouldn’t take a controversy over a shoe for our kids to know who Betsy Ross is. A founding mother, her story should be taught in all American schools. In the meantime, it’s worth googling her.”

  1. While the governor may have an opinion over Nike’s latest actions, his claim that Arizona’s economy is “doing just fine” is one that doesn’t stand up to statistics compared to other states.

    According to, Arizona’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average. A May 2019 survey concludes that the state’s unemployment rate is 4.9 percent compared to the 3.6 percent national average.

Photo: Ralph Freso/Getty Images


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