Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey pulled funding for a new Nike plant that would provide 550 new jobs after the company pulled a sneaker that featured a US flag design commonly (wrongly) called the “Betsy Ross flag.”
Nike was set to release the Air Max 1 USA shoe this week and had already shipped it to retailers when it asked for them to be returned without an explanation, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag,” a spokeswoman for the company told the Journal.
According to the report, the decision came after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was the face of a Nike ad campaign last year, told the company that he and others found the design offensive because of its connection to an era of slavery.
The report also noted that the flag’s design had been appropriated by extremist groups as a symbol of white nationalism.
The NAACP said that the flag had been appropriated by “the so-called ‘Patriot Movement’ and other militia groups who are responding to America’s increasing diversity with opposition and racial supremacy.”
Arizona pulls funds over sneaker:
Arizona had promised to give Nike millions in tax incentives to build a new manufacturing plant outside of Phoenix. It was estimated that the plant would create 550 new jobs for Arizonans. After the company canceled its sneaker launch, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey announced the state would pull its funds.
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” he wrote. “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. 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. 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 announced via tweet. “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.”
“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,” he added.
Betsy Ross did not design the flag:
If Ducey had Googled Betsy Ross, he would quickly learn that the story of her making the first US flag at George Washington’s behest is a complete myth started by her grandson some 100 years later.
“There simply is no credible historical evidence — letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, bills of sale — that Ross (then known as Elizabeth Claypoole) either made or had a hand in designing the American flag before it made its debut in 1777,” The Washington Post reported.
“While Ross did make flags in Philadelphia in the late 1770s, it is all but certain that the story about her creating the American flag is a myth,” the report added.