SBD/28/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING NICE: WISC. REEBOK DEAL ALTERED

     The Univ. of WI-Madison and Reebok agreed to eliminate a
"controversial" portion of their multimillion-dollar outfitting
contract regarding free speech, according to the MILWAUKEE
JOURNAL SENTINEL.  The "no-disparagement" clause had prohibited
the university from issuing any negative statements about Reebok.
It also called for UW officials to respond quickly to its
employees' criticism of Reebok.  In a prepared statement, UW
Chancellor David Ward said, "We initiated this action to relieve
any anxiety and eliminate any misunderstanding about this aspect
of the contract.  This language applied to official university
statements and ... was never intended to abridge First Amendment
rights."  Ward said UW approached Reebok about eliminating the
clause, and company officials agreed to the change.  The removal
of the clause does not guarantee the end of the Reebok
"controversy."  The WI Attorney General's office is reviewing a
separate request by the JOURNAL SENTINEL, which has raised
questions about the legality of the deal's approval process.
Reebok and the university have tentatively agreed to five-year
outfitting deal worth $7.9M  (Tom Vanden Brook, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
SENTINEL, 6/28).
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