New Balance Responds to Neo-Nazi Controversy

New BalanceNew Balance sneaker company has aligned with Trump's trade policies and is getting Neo-Nazi support it doesn't want. People responded by trashing their sneakers, and the company tweeted this statement.

A GQ writer suggests, instead, that New Balance should be more direct:

Why not just say, "We do not want the endorsement of Neo-Nazis and if you are a Neo-Nazi please stop wearing our shoes." Is it really that hard to plain and simple condemn Neo-Nazis? This seems to be an attempt to not ostracize any customers or even, yes, Trump himself.

New Balance seems to be walking a line, trying not to lose customers on either side of aisle. The executive may very well be questioning whether he should have weighed in about the trade policy at all. Although CEOs should enter political debates carefully, New Balance has a lot at stake, according to a company statement:

As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the U.S., New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the U.S., not less.

Discussion Starters:

  • Should the executive have resisted commenting on Trump's trade policy? Why did New Balance enter the conversation?
  • What's your view of the company's statement? Should it have been more direct, as the GQ writer suggests? What are the potential consequences?