The Mayor of Goodyear, Arizona vowed Tuesday to provide financial incentives to Nike pledged by her Phoenix-metro area city after the state’s governor declared the athletic sportswear giant is unwelcome for pulling America-themed sneakers off the shelves.
“This deal is expected to bring more than 500 jobs and significant investment to our city. We will honor the commitment we made in our agreement,” Mayor Georgia Lord (R) said of Nike’s planned manufacturing plant.
According to the Arizona Republic, Nike has plans to invest at least $184.5 million in the plant. The move is estimated to create more than 500 full-time jobs as well as $7.7 million in direct revenue for the area. The plant’s overall economic impact is said to be valued at more than $483 million in its first five years of operation.
Nike faces fierce backlash from conservatives, who are furious with a Wall Street Journal report in which it was revealed former NFL anthem-protester and Nike pitchman Colin Kaepernick pressured Nike to pull its 4th of July sneakers featuring the “Betsy Ross” flag because he and others found the design to be offensive. The story was confirmed by a Nike spokesperson to CNN Business.
In response to the move, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) announced Tuesday that he has ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to cancel all financial incentives for the plant.
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike,” Ducey wrote on Twitter. “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.”
“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 added. “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.”
In addition to Ducey, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has also taken aim at Nike, launching a #WalkAwayFromNike boycott campaign this week. “I love America. I stand for the anthem, respect the flag & honor the men & women who fought to defend our Nation. I respect Free Speech & I’m exerting mine,” Cruz wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “[U]ntil @Nike ends its contempt for those values I WILL NO LONGER PURCHASE NIKE PRODUCTS. #WalkAwayFromNike RT if you agree.”