Proving once again that he’s not one to run away from a sneaker flap, former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin this week seized on a controversy surrounding Nike to call for patriots to snatch up New Balance shoes instead.

Nike found itself in hot water when it tried to sell a new “Betsy Ross”-themed training shoe as a Fourth of July gesture that included tiny flags with the 13 stars of an early American banner.

Its star spokesman, controversial ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick, told the company the 1777 flag design was offensive because it originated in an era of slavery, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Nike yanked the shoe off the market and, predictably, a social media firestorm arose, with conservatives blasting the shoemaker and Kaepernick allies hailing the decision.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among those who declared he would boycott Nike until it “ends its contempt” for America, the national anthem, the flag and the men and women who have fought for the United States.

And he was among the more mild critics.


Poliquin, who lost a re-election bid for Congress last year and may be eyeing a rematch in 2020, took to Facebook to join in the fray surrounding Nike’s move.

“America,” he wrote, “here’s an idea: 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?”

He pointed out that New Balance, “which employs hundreds of our fellow U.S. citizens right in the great state of Maine,” has plenty of alternatives to Nike’s offerings.

“As we are celebrating our nation’s independence, what better time to buy American?” the former congressman asked.

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