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Ducey welcomes Nike to Goodyear after pulling grant over flag shoes

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey welcomed a Nike manufacturing facility to Goodyear on Thursday about a week after he pulled a $1 million grant to the company over controversial shoes.

Ducey had decided to pull the incentive after Nike canceled sales of its shoes with a Betsy Ross-era American flag design that activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick called offensive.

Despite the backlash, Nike made an official announcement Thursday that it was bringing the plant to Goodyear, creating more than 500 jobs.

The governor called the company’s decision “good news for Arizona.”

“Arizona is open for business, and we welcome Nike to our state,” he said in a tweet.

Just last week, Ducey said he was “embarrassed for Nike” in a series of early-morning tweets in which he announced the Arizona Commerce Authority would be withdrawing the grant.

“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,” he said.

The Arizona Commerce Authority confirmed to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday that the grant offer had been withdrawn and will not be reinstated.

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said after Ducey’s critical comments that the city hadn’t changed its intentions and was still offering up to $2 million in incentives.

“The city of Goodyear looks forward to the partnership with Nike,” a city spokeswoman said in a statement to KTAR News on Thursday.

“We are excited to partner with them to bring high-quality jobs, breakthrough technology, and advanced manufacturing to our community.

Nike said in a press release Thursday that building renovations will begin later this summer, and production of Nike Air soles is expected to start early next year.”

“The expansion of Air MI in Arizona helps us keep pace with the growing demand for Nike Air and also greatly increases the size of our U.S. manufacturing footprint,” Nike COO Eric Sprunk said in the release.

“We want to thank the state and city of Goodyear for their partnership as we continue to accelerate our growth.”

The soles at the Arizona facility, the company’s third for Nike Air production, will contain at least 50% recycled manufacturing waste.

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