One week after Governor Doug Ducey issued a lengthy rant on Twitter criticizing Nike for discontinuing a shoe featuring a "Betsy Ross" flag with 13 stars, Ducey again tweeted at Nike — this time, to welcome the company to Arizona.
“I am embarrassed for Nike," Ducey wrote around 2 a.m. on July 2. "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."
Nike decided to pull the shoe following backlash from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others over the design. The sneaker featured the Revolutionary War era flag that has been taken up by some far-right groups.
Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major @Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ. THREAD—>— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) July 2, 2019
"Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours," Ducey wrote. "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."
Ducey's tweets left the fate of the company's plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Goodyear up in the air. But on Thursday, Nike confirmed the company will still be opening the Goodyear plant. The $184 million project is expected to bring 500 jobs to the area.
"This is good news for Arizona and for @GoodyearAZGov. 500 plus jobs. Over $184 million in capital investment. Arizona is open for business, and we welcome @Nike to our state," Ducey wrote on Thursday.
The state financial incentives previously offered to the company before Ducey withdrew them last week have not been reinstated, though Ducey's changed tone — and his decision to wear Nike sneakers to a Fourth of July barbecue just days after his Twitter rant — have some state representatives calling out the governor.
Wait....I'm getting whiplash watching this flip flop. https://t.co/pKmpn41Fvx— Victoria Steele (@VictoriaLSteele) July 11, 2019
"Does Nike make flip flops? #JustDuceyIt," wrote State Representative and Democratic Whip Athena Salman.
"It's summer. It's AZ. It's Ducey," wrote State Senator Martín Quezada alongside a gif from a Lonely Island video.
"Wait...I'm getting whiplash watching this flip flop," Victoria Steele, a state senator from Tucson, added.
State Representative Charlene Fernandez, who represents Goodyear, thanked city officials for their work getting Nike to open a new manufacturing facility in the city.
Goodyear's agreement with Nike will provide the company nearly $2 million in incentives, so long as Nike creates 500-plus full-time jobs in the city with salaries averaging at least $48,500 a year. Nike must also provide employees overtime compensation, bonuses, and pay at least 65 percent of their health care premiums.
The new manufacturing facility should be fully operational in 2023 and is expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the city in the coming years.
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