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Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Colin Kaepernick's Nike ad. Photos: Ralph Freso/Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona said he will yank state funding for a Nike plant following the shoe maker's "terrible decision" to cancel a sneaker line with the colonial version of the American flag.

The big picture: On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that former NFL quarterback and Nike spokesperson Colin Kaepernick told Nike the "Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July" featuring the Betsy Ross flag is considered offensive with racist symbolism and asked for it not to be released.

“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike. ... Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism."
— Gov. Doug Ducey said in a Twitter thread

The backdrop: Nike had plans to invest $185 million in Goodyear, Arizona to open a plant with 500 new jobs. The Goodyear City Council approved on Monday about $1 million in incentives to reimburse Nike for the hires and planning fees.

The original American flag was designed by Betsy Ross in the 18th century with 13 stars representing the original colonies. Reports have shown the flag's present day use has been largely in support of white supremacy and nationalism, per Mlive.com. The American Nazi party once adopted the Betsy Ross flag as a symbol, the BBC reports.

  • In 2016, the superintendent of a Michigan school district apologized after students waved the Betsy Ross flag at a high school football game, Mlive.com reports.
  • The local chapter of the NAACP put out a statement following the incident saying the flag has been appropriated by some extremist groups who disapprove of diversity in the U.S.

The bottom line: Kaepernick has had considerable influence on Nike's brand since 2018 when he signed as a spokesperson with a provocative ad campaign. Since then, Nike's sales have been higher in both the U.S. and China. According to Reuters, the company’s fourth quarter earnings saw sales rise 4% to $10.18 billion with an increased share price of more than 15% in 2019.

Go deeper: By the numbers: The rise of "belief-driven" buyers

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

4 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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