July 7, 2019
By Jon Riches
Last week, Nike decided to cancel production of a Betsy Ross flag special edition sneaker because of objections from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick contended that placing the flag on the shoe was improper since the flag was in existence during a period in which slavery existed in the United States.
Nike’s decision to cancel the patriotic shoe was a boneheaded, offensive and ridiculous act of kowtowing at the altar of political correctness. After news broke of the company’s actions in this case, I personally vowed to stop purchasing Nike products and swiftly purchased a pair of Brooks Sports running sneakers that proudly displayed Old Glory across the entire shoe.
In a commendable response to Nike’s move, Gov. Doug Ducey directed the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw financial incentives that had previously been offered to the company to locate a manufacturing plant in Goodyear. Ducey was right to cancel these incentives — and not only because Nike exhibited poor decision-making. The government should not be in the business of subsidizing private companies in the first place, whatever positions a company may or may not take.
Jon Riches is Director of National Litigation & General Counsel at the Goldwater Institute.