Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has welcomed Nike’s expansion in his state with open arms, just days after he went on a Twitter tirade slamming the company for reportedly scrapping a patriotic shoe design at the behest of activist Colin Kaepernick.
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On Thursday, Ducey promoted an announcement on Twitter showing Nike had confirmed it would be expanding its footprint in Arizona next year with a $184 million project. “This is good news for Arizona and for @GoodyearAZGov,” he wrote, before touting the potential for 500 new jobs for the state and adding, “Arizona is open for business, and we welcome @Nike to our state.”
That’s an apparent about-face from what the governor said last week, when he scolded Nike after the Wall Street Journal reported the firm nixed a patriot shoe with a Betsy Ross flag on it in celebration of Independence Day because Nike endorser Colin Kaepernick “reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag was an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery.”
Ducey unleashed on Nike in a series of tweets, first slamming the firm for its “terrible decision” before announcing he had “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.”
The governor added, “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.”
The Phoenix New Times reported Friday that the financial incentives Ducey stripped from Nike last week have not been reinstated, but lawmakers and others have taken notice of the governor’s changed tune. State Rep. Athena Salman (D) reacted to Ducey’s “welcome” tweet by asking, “Does @Nike make flip flops?”
Arizona Republic columnist Elvia Diaz wrote an op-ed Thursday, declaring, “Really, the governor has gone nuts,” saying Ducey was “pretending that nothing happened, that he never rebuked Nike.”