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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

3 mins ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," per a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
24 mins ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.

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