After the Wall Street Journal‘s Sara Germano posted the following tweet, things got ugly for New Balance. People started burning their shoes:
New Balance: "The Obama admin turned a deaf ear to us & frankly w/ Pres-Elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction"
— Sara Germano (@germanotes) November 9, 2016
Matt LeBretton, New Balance’s vice president of public affairs, had told the Wall Street Journal this in the context, he later told BuzzFeed, of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“The statement is correct in the context of trade, not talking about large geo-political anything, but in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.”
This was the result, and more like it:
— Jean Ralphio (@MMArtinitus) November 10, 2016
All because sneaker blog Sole Collector misunderstood Germano’s tweet:
— SoleCollector.com (@SoleCollector) November 10, 2016
In other words, people were burning their shoes for no reason, unless they support the TPP. What LeBretton dislikes is the TPP. He says it doesn’t mean he supports Trump.
So when people began to call for the firing of Matt LeBretton, the reason they were calling for his termination was ironically his opposition to the TPP, an agreement many on the left oppose, despite Obama’s endorsement of it.
And this opposition goes way back, as this 2013 tweet from Dan Rather demonstrates:
"By eliminating the tariffs all u r doing is helping Vietnamese manufacturing in footwear." Matt Lebretton of @NewBalance on TPP trade deal
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) December 17, 2013
New Balance, seeking to further clarify the situation, sent the following tweet
— NewBalanceUSA (@NewBalanceUSA) November 15, 2016
Just to drive the point home, the company said in a statement:
“As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade and trade policy in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less.
“New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to Election Day that focused on American manufacturing job creation, and we continue to support them today.”
There has been a lot of protesting Donald Trump’s win on November 8, but this one example was utterly pointless, all thanks to the failure of people to read what was put before them. All these shoes died in vain, simply because of a misunderstanding.
Context, folks, is everything.
Author’s Note: My own New Balance shoes are safe on my shelf, ready to be worn on my next outing.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.