Arizona had balked on celebrating MLK Day, so outrage over the Betsy Ross sneakers isn’t surprising.
The state of Arizona holds a special place in line when it comes to discussion around racial drama and hypocrisy.
After all, this was one of the last states to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a Federal holiday. President Ronald Reagan signed Martin Luther King Day into law in 1983, and the holiday first observed in the U.S. in 1986. That same year, state Governor Bruce Babbitt signed an executive order that declared the third Monday in January of every year would be a day to honor Dr. King. But a year later, the new Governor, Evan Mecham, rescinded the order, stating it was created illegally. Instead, he declared that Dr. King would be celebrate on the third Sunday of every January, so workers wouldn’t receive a paid day off.
Slick move, one which survived for years despite the backlash by many. This included a 1990 vote in which the state refused to create the holiday.
But then, in 1992, the NFL said it wouldn’t bring the Super Bowl to the state anymore until they changed its ruling. Realizing what a bad look it was, and that it would costs them millions and millions of dollars, a new vote was taken and MLK Day was finally brought into law in the state in 1993. Three years later, Super Bowl XXX, between the Steelers and Cowboys, was played in in Tempe at Sun Devils Stadium.
Flash forward to Tuesday and another incident around race and civil rights had people all up in their feelings with faux outrage.
When the news circulated that Colin Kaepernick had informed Nike about the history of racism and slavery represented by the Betsy Ross flag they were planning to use on their 4th of July themed sneakers, and gotten them to terminate the line, people let their emotions run wild.
"Once again, Colin Kaepernick has done something he didn’t have to for the sake of others. Proving once again that he’s one of the reasons, and people, we should be celebrating during this week of independence."
Kap was right in telling Nike "don't do it" https://t.co/2ldwCRiWQL
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeague) July 2, 2019
Ignoring history and the fact that many white nationalist groups had adopted the flag, some came roaring out against Kap and Nike, saying that he’s anti-American and hates the flag, and that Nike was demeaning history by bowing to Kap’s words, no matter how truthful they are.
Arizona’s Republican Governor, Doug Ducey, was especially enraged over this decision, and he lashed out at Nike in a Twitter tirade.
“Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision. I am embarrassed for Nike.
Nike is an iconic American brand and American company. This country, our system of government and free enterprise have allowed them to prosper and flourish.
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
It is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.
Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. 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.
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.
And finally, it shouldn’t take a controversy over a shoe for our kids to know who Betsy Ross is. A founding mother. Her story should be taught in all American schools. In the meantime, it’s worth googling her.
Nike was scheduled to open up a multi-million dollar plant in Goodyear, Arizona. According to USA Today, “The agreement included a promise to waive $1 million in plan review and permit fees and reimburse Nike an additional $1 million as a thank you for the estimated 550 jobs the plant will create.”
To attack a company that was bringing economic value to the state really wasn’t about Nike’s decision.
No. We all know what this is.
It’s the perfect opportunity to pander up to Trump, who loves to target sports, especially Black athletes like Colin Kaepernick. His ability to incite venom from his base by spreading false narratives, telling lies, and attacking individuals on Twitter, like Kap, the Golden State Warriors and, most recently, US soccer star Megan Rapinoe, gives rise to those below him like Governor Ducey.
Yet this isn’t a surprise. We all knew it was coming and Arizona was the perfect state to jump into the cesspool of false narratives.
The state has all of the requirements to participate in a pro-Trump, anti-Kap campaign. The vote against MLK Day, the ban by the state’s prison system of the book “Choke Hold”, which discusses racism in the criminal justice system and, most recently, the altercation between police and a Black couple in Phoenix. Oh, and let’s not forget about Trump’s good friend, racist Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, and all of his actions taken against people of color during his 24 year career in the state.
These are just a few of the most glaring incidents that have occurred in the Grand Canyon State. So Nike’s decision, and Kap’s name, were the perfect fodder for Ducey’s Twitter barrage.
Now we’re all just waiting for the mandatory Trump tweet about the situation, which should be arriving in T-minus 10, 9, 8….