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KICKIN' UP THEIR HEELS: NIKE TO SEND UNC STUDENTS TO ASIA
Published November 17, 1997
One day after Nike execs visited UNC-Chapel Hill (UNC) to "counter accusations of sweatshoplike working conditions in Southeast Asia, the company agreed Friday to send UNC students to the factories to see for themselves," according to Jane Stancil of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. In a meeting Thursday, UNC Chancellor Michael Hooker "suggested" that Nike pay the expenses of a four-member contingent: the Chair of the faculty council and three students, including a member of the campus paper. Nike Dir of College Sports Marketing Kit Morris: "Conceptually, Nike has agreed to the idea. We welcome the opportunity to educate our university partners on this issue" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/16). THE WHITE STUFF: Nike-endorser Reggie White has "joined the ranks" of Nike critics, "blasting the company's labor practices," according to Friday's Portland OREGONIAN. White: "The reason they have these sweatshops is for cheap labor. They'd rather hire the cheap labor than hire the kid in the neighborhood who is buying their shoes. There are people who need jobs here." Nike spokesperson Antonio Tijerino said that White should "know that we employ 500,000 people around the world. There are poor people everywhere." White has a deal with Nike "estimated" at $200,000-$250,000 a year and said he has no plans to end his relationship with the company. White: "Nike has treated me well. But I'm not going to lie to you. I've been disappointed with them" (Portland OREGONIAN/AP, 11/15). MORE NICKS AT NIKE: In S.F., Tim Keown wrote that Nike's "hypocrisy knows no bounds." Keown: "It aligns itself with just causes -- the courage of Jackie Robinson, racism in country clubs, the plight of inner-city kids -- then indignantly wonders why anybody gives a damn about the respiratory problems of a few thousand young women in Vietnam" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/14). In an op-ed in today's PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, Fredrick McKissack writes under the headline, "Nike Workers Get No Assist From Jordan." McKissack notes Jordan's recent statements on Nike during an interview on ABC's "PrimeTime Live." McKissack: "Once again, Michael Jordan had a chance to speak out about working conditions in Nike plants in Southeast Asia. Once again, he failed to do that" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 11/17).