Gov. Ducey welcomes Nike to Arizona despite prior criticism over shoe controversy

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Just over one week after denouncing Nike and its decision to pull a shoe that features the Betsy Ross flag, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is welcoming the shoemaker to the state.

On Thursday, Nike announced it will open a new "Air Manufacturing Innovation" facility in Goodyear that will generate more than 500 full-time jobs. The facility, according to Nike officials, is expected to start producing Nike Air soles in early 2020. Currently, Nike has two facilities in the U.S. that is dedicated to the company's Nike Air line of sneakers. They are located in Oregon and Missouri.

In a tweet made to his verified Twitter account Thursday, Gov. Ducey welcomed Nike's arrival to Arizona.

"Arizona is open for business, and we welcome @Nike to our state," a portion of the tweet read.

Gov. Ducey's tweet came just a week after a controversy surrounding Nike's decision to pull a special edition of their Air Max 1 Quick Strike sneakers, which features the Betsy Ross flag. It was reported at the time that the company nixed the sneakers after former NFL quarterback turned activist, Colin Kaepernick, told the company that he and others felt the shoes were an offensive symbol because of its connection to an "era of slavery."

"NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday," read a portion of a statement released by Nike officials at the time.

In a series of tweets made to his verified Twitter account on July 2, Gov. Ducey denounced Nike, and also announced that he ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentives under their discretion that the state was providing.

"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," read one of the tweets. The tweets by Ducey later sparked a response by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who praised the company and said his state is "open for business" and is just a "quick jaunt over the border", a reference to California's proximity to Arizona.

After Gov. Ducey's announcement, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord announced the city will continue to honor the commitment the city made under the agreement. Gov. Ducey later received some media attention after he was spotted wearing a pair of Nikes during an event on 4th of July. The photo was tweeted out by officials with the Coconino County Democrats.