Commentary

Arizona Governor Makes Nike Pay After It Caves to Kaepernick's Anti-Flag Demand

Late Monday night, Nike announced it was pulling a new July 4th shoe from stores after Colin Kaepernick complained about the design.

The sneaker, called the “Air Max 1,” featured the original American flag, which has 13 white stars in a circle to represent the 13 colonies, on the heel. The flag, dubbed the Betsy Ross flag, was flown during the American Revolution.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Kaepernick, a recipient of Nike endorsement money, told the company it “shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol he and others consider offensive” due to its connection to an era of slavery.

Even though the shoes had already shipped to retailers, Nike demanded their stores return them. The shoes are not available online or on the Nike app.

“We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products and services,” a Nike spokesperson told Conservative Tribune, a section of The Western Journal.

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“NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”

The spokesperson added that “Nike is a company proud of its American heritage.”

Nike’s decision to listen to Kaepernick didn’t sit well with Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey. As a result of Nike’s decision, Ducey announced he was withdrawing financial incentives previously promised to Nike by the state to aid in its opening of a plant in Arizona.

But Ducey didn’t stop there. He gave Nike a blistering rebuke on his Twitter account.

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“Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major [Nike] investment in Goodyear … And then this news broke yesterday afternoon,” Ducey tweeted, referencing Nike’s announcement.

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“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision,” Ducey said. “I am embarrassed for Nike. 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.

“It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.”

But then Ducey dropped the bomb on Nike. “Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours,” Ducey said. “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. 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.”

It takes courage to stand up to a company like Nike and fight against the tidal wave of political correctness. Ducey should be commended for his bravery and for his steely leadership of Arizona.

Lawmakers in the Grand Canyon state weren’t the only ones who noticed Nike’s announcement.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas made perhaps the most poignant observation. “It’s a good thing [Nike] only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag … #HappyFourth” he tweeted.

On a day meant to celebrate independence from tyrannical and oppressive rule, Nike’s actions seem more like placation to King George than a celebration of freedom.

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G.S. Hair is the former executive editor of The Western Journal.
G.S. Hair is the former executive editor of The Western Journal and vice president of digital content of Liftable Media.

After graduating law school from the Cecil C. Humphries School of Law, Mr. Hair spent a decade as an attorney practicing at the trial and appellate level in Arkansas and Tennessee. He represented clients in civil litigation, contractual disputes, criminal defense and domestic matters. He spent a significant amount of time representing indigent clients who could not afford private counsel in civil or criminal matters. A desire for justice and fairness was a driving force in Mr. Hair's philosophy of representation. Inspired by Christ’s role as an advocate on our behalf before God, he often represented clients who had no one else to fight on their behalf.

Mr. Hair has been a consultant for Republican political candidates and has crafted grassroots campaign strategies to help mobilize voters in staunchly Democrat regions of the Eastern United States.

In early 2015, he began writing for Conservative Tribune. After the site was acquired by Liftable Media, he shut down his law practice, moved to Arizona and transitioned into the position of site director. He then transitioned to vice president of content. In 2018, after Liftable Media folded all its brands into The Western Journal, he was named executive editor. His mission is to advance conservative principles and be a positive and truthful voice in the media.

He is married and has four children. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona.
Birthplace
South Carolina
Education
Homeschooled (and proud of it); B.A. Mississippi College; J.D. University Of Memphis
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Culture, Faith, Politics




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