Nike’s first “Puerto Rico” shoe debuted in 2002, just in time for the Puerto Rico Day parade in New York City. That year, the Puerto Rico shoe was an Air Force 1, low, with a ground-breaking embroidered patch on the back of the shoe.
This year it’s the Air Trainer 1, a higher-topped cross trainer. Like the 2002 design, it’s a red, white and blue beauty decked out with the territory’s flag. This year’s version features the coqui, Puerto Rico’s rainforest tree frog, on the tongue.
Nike posted the announcement at nikeblog.com. The text of the announcement includes a common confusion about Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States. “Time and again,” the blogger says, “Puerto Rico rejects the offer to become the US’s fifty-first state.”
This idea came up frequently in social media and news reports about the Puerto Rico Powerball win, too. The image is of Congress asking Puerto Rico to become a state and Puerto Rico refusing. This has never actually happened.
In 1936, Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland proposed that Puerto Rico be given independence under unfavorable terms, but this bill did not gain support within the U.S. legislature, nor in Puerto Rico. Congress has never offered statehood to Puerto Rico, and it is not clear where this idea came from, though it certainly is part of the popular confusion over the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico voted to become a State in 2012, and there is a bill proposing an up/down vote on statehood, HR 727, currently pending in the House of Representatives with 106 sponsors.