By Jon Riches | Special to the Arizona Daily Star
(The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.)
Earlier this week, Nike decided to cancel production of a Betsy Ross flag special edition sneaker because of objections from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick contended that placing the flag on the shoe was improper since the flag was in existence during a period in which slavery existed in the United States.
Nike’s decision to cancel the patriotic shoe was a boneheaded, offensive and ridiculous act of kowtowing at the altar of political correctness. After news broke of the company’s actions in this case, I personally vowed to stop purchasing Nike products and swiftly purchased a pair of
Brooks Sports running sneakers that proudly displayed Old Glory across the entire shoe.
In a commendable response to Nike’s move, Gov. Doug Ducey directed the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw financial incentives that had previously been offered to the company to locate a manufacturing plant in Goodyear. Ducey was right to cancel these incentives — and not only because Nike exhibited poor decision-making. The government should not be in the business of subsidizing private companies in the first place, whatever positions a company may or may not take.
Unfortunately, such subsidies have existed even before the dawn of statehood. In the 19th century, Arizona towns would compete against each other to offer railway companies lavish handouts, only to leave taxpayers holding the bag when the railway went under for building lines the market did not support and passengers did not use.