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Cruz vows never to buy Nike products again after 'Betsy Ross flag' sneaker canceled
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Tuesday said he would never buy Nike products again after the company scrapped its plans to release a "Betsy Ross flag" sneaker following public pushback from people offended by the design.
"I own lots of
@Nike I've been a life-long customer, since I was kid," Cruz tweeted. "But they've now decided their shoes represent snide disdain for the American flag. Since they don't want my business anymore, I won't buy any more. Can anyone recommend a good sneaker co that's not so woke?"
A day earlier, Cruz and other Republicans railed against Nike's decision to cancel the release of a shoe featuring a Revolutionary War-era flag design.
The company had planned to release the Air Max 1 USA featuring the design this week, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But Nike reportedly scrapped those plans after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick voiced concerns with the design, according to the Journal Kaepernick, who is sponsored by Nike, said the early American flag was an offensive symbol connected to an era of slavery, the newspaper reported.
Nike then asked retailers to return the product.
"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," Nike said in a statement to The Hill.
Nike also touted itself as "a company proud of its American heritage," while highlighting its "continuing engagement supporting thousands of American athletes including the US Olympic team and US Soccer teams" and its employment of 35,000 people in the United States.
The company did not mention whether Kaepernick had been a factor behind its decision to pull the sneakers.
Cruz criticized Nike over its decision on Monday night, saying that it was a "good thing" the company "only wants to sell sneakers to people who hate the American flag."
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) echoed Cruz's sentiments, lambasting Nike as "anti-American."
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) said Nike's move amounted to bowing "to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism."
Ducey announced that he would ask the state's chamber of commerce to pull financial incentives for Nike. He said the company was getting ready to make a "major" investment in Goodyear, Ariz.
Kaepernick in 2016 became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Many NFL players have participated in the demonstration since then.
While Kaepernick has not played in the NFL for the past two seasons, he continues to have ties with Nike. He was the face of a Nike "Just Do It" ad campaign that was released in September.
-- Updated at 4:29 p.m.