/Nike shares slide as Arizonas governor blocks factory incentives after Kaepernick-fueled sneaker controversy

Nike shares slide as Arizonas governor blocks factory incentives after Kaepernick-fueled sneaker controversy

nike betsy ross sneakersNike / Thomson Reuters

  • Nike shares fell by more than 1% on Tuesday after Arizona Governor Doug Ducey ordered the state to pull all financial incentives for a Nike manufacturing plant there. 
  • The announcement came after Nike scrapped the release of a sneaker featuring a colonial-era version of the American flag amid pushback from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
  • Track Nike shares here in real time.

Shares of sportswear giant Nike slid Tuesday after Arizona’s governor ordered the state to pull all financial aid for a Nike manufacturing plant there. 

Governor Doug Ducey’s announcement of the withdrawn incentives followed Nike’s reported decision to scrap the release of a sneaker that featured a colonial-era version of the American flag.

Colin Kaepernick — the former NFL player who is now a Nike sponsor — pushed back on the design, saying the symbol was offensive, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. That prompted the company’s move, the outlet said.

“Today was supposed to be a good day in Arizona, with the announcement of a major @Nike investment in Goodyear, AZ,” Ducey wrote on Twitter, adding in a follow-up tweet linking to The Wall Street Journal’s story, “And then this news broke yesterday afternoon.” 

He said in another tweet: “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.”

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A Nike spokeswoman told the WSJ the company had “chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag.”

The report comes days after the Oregon-based company reported quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street analysts’ expectations for the first time since 2012. Nike’s sales in the critical Chinese market, where the economy is slowing, have fallen under a microscope in recent months. 

Nike shares have risen 14% this year, slightly underperforming the broader market. 

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