Republican congressman wants people to wear New Balance after Nike cancels 'Betsy Ross flag' sneakers

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    Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty Images
    Former Republican lawmaker Bruce Poliquin says customers should ban Nike in favor of New Balance after the former brand canceled its “Betsy Ross flag” shoes. (Photo: Getty Images)
    <p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Ex-GOP lawmaker Bruce Poliquin directed sneaker customers towards&nbsp;New Balance&nbsp;shoes after&nbsp;Nike&nbsp;canceled its “Betsy Ross flag” line over reported objections from&nbsp;Colin Kaepernick.” data-reactid=”22″>Ex-GOP lawmaker Bruce Poliquin directed sneaker customers towards New Balance shoes after Nike canceled its “Betsy Ross flag” line over reported objections from Colin Kaepernick.

    <p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="According to the&nbsp;Wall Street Journal, the ex-NFL player disapproved of Nike’s “Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July” shoes for their new “Betsy Ross flag” imprint.&nbsp;Nike reportedly axed the $140 sneakers on June 26 before Tuesday’s release and after orders were shipped.” data-reactid=”23″>According to the Wall Street Journal, the ex-NFL player disapproved of Nike’s “Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July” shoes for their new “Betsy Ross flag” imprint. Nike reportedly axed the $140 sneakers on June 26 before Tuesday’s release and after orders were shipped.

    <p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The early version of the American flag, named after Betsy Ross, the seamstress who&nbsp;allegedly stitched the first one&nbsp;in 1776, had 13 stars for the 13 colonies. According to&nbsp;Newsweek, the flag symbolized to many the era of slavery.” data-reactid=”24″>The early version of the American flag, named after Betsy Ross, the seamstress who allegedly stitched the first one in 1776, had 13 stars for the 13 colonies. According to Newsweek, the flag symbolized to many the era of slavery.

    Poliquin, formerly of Maine, said on Facebook that followers should buy New Balance. “AMERICA, HERE’S AN IDEA,” he wrote Tuesday. “Since Nike, who makes their shoes out of the country, just BANNED a new ‘Betsy Ross’ sneaker because of a claim the colonial flag from our nation’s founding is now controversial; why not buy American? This shoe for instance, made by New Balance which employs hundreds of our fellow U.S. Citizens, right in the great state of Maine. As we are celebrating our nation’s independence what better time than to buy American?”

    Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach Poliquin for comment in time for publication.

    A spokesperson from New Balance did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. An alleged New Balance employee of the sneaker brand replied to the lawmaker on Facebook: “Thank you Bruce Poliquin for always supporting us. This August will be my 23rd year working for New Balance.” Poliquin wrote back, “Maine workers are the best! Thank you for the note.”

    <p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Kaepernick hasn’t played pro football since 2016, when he refused to&nbsp;kneel during the National Anthem&nbsp;to protest police brutality against black people.” data-reactid=”32″>Kaepernick hasn’t played pro football since 2016, when he refused to kneel during the National Anthem to protest police brutality against black people.

    Last year, when Kaepernick became Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign spokesperson, Poliquin wrote on Facebook, “With Nike hiring Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers famed kneeling quarterback, who protest during our national anthem, there has never been a better time to show off your Maine-Made New Balance shoes!”

    On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz announced he was joining the shoe ban, with the hashtag #WalkAwayFromNike.

    “I love America. I stand for the anthem, respect the flag & honor the men & women who fought to defend our Nation,” Cruz tweeted. “I respect Free Speech & I’m exerting mine: until Nike ends its contempt for those values, I WILL NO LONGER PURCHASE NIKE PRODUCTS…”

    <p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Reacting to Nike’s news, Arizona governor Doug Ducey said he was rescinding incentive funds for Nike to open a manufacturing plant in the town of Goodyear, which would have reportedly created 500 local jobs.” data-reactid=”40″>Reacting to Nike’s news, Arizona governor Doug Ducey said he was rescinding incentive funds for Nike to open a manufacturing plant in the town of Goodyear, which would have reportedly created 500 local jobs.

    “Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours,” Ducey said in a thread. “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.”

    Another Ducey tweet read, “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.”

    <p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="But Arizona’s change of heart with Nike was seen as an opportunity for other states. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham shared Ducey’s tweet, tagging Nike and&nbsp;writing, “Hey Nike, let’s talk.”” data-reactid=”47″>But Arizona’s change of heart with Nike was seen as an opportunity for other states. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham shared Ducey’s tweet, tagging Nike and writing, “Hey Nike, let’s talk.”

    Tripp Stelnicki, director of communications for Grisham, tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “The administration has reached out to Nike to explore whether there’s a potential fit. We want those jobs. It’s wild to me that anyone would jeopardize viable employment for hundreds of state residents over some political virtue-signaling…”

    A Nike representative tells Yahoo Lifestyle: “We regularly make business decisions to withdraw initiatives, products and services. 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…”

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