SBD/20/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

NIKE'S KNIGHT RESPONDS TO CONGRESSIONAL CRITICISM

          Nike Chair Phil Knight "defended his company's labor
     practices" yesterday in a letter to congressional critics,
     and "extended an invitation for members of Congress to tour
     the facilities to see for themselves," according to Scott
     Sonner of the AP.  One of the members who spearheaded the
     letter to Nike, U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), said, "If
     Nike will give us freedom of access and let us talk to those
     workers we want to and go where we want to, it might be an
     interesting idea."  Responding to the letter written by
     Sanders and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, and signed by 50
     colleagues, Knight said the lawmakers should "become more
     familiar with Nike's operations," and added that Nike's
     commitment to the protection of its workers "is unparalleled
     in the footwear and apparel industry."  Knight: "You should
     know that we have created and currently directly support
     nearly 15,000 jobs in the U.S."  But Sanders responded to
     Knight's letter by adding, "This means that in a company
     which spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year in
     advertising in this country and which controls the lion's
     share of the sneaker market here, only 3 percent of your
     workers are employed in the United States" (AP, 11/20).  
          MORE FALLOUT: An editorial in the HARTFORD COURANT,
     entitled, "Nike's Dirty Business In Vietnam," said that Nike
     "can no longer claim ignorance" against charges of poor
     working conditions abroad.  From the editorial: "Could some
     of [Nike's] millions be used, instead, to provide better
     work conditions in Nike plants?  And might not these
     athletes ask a few tough questions about the labor practices
     of the company?" (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/19).
          TAR HEALED? In Raleigh, editorial writer Jim Jenkins
     comments on UNC-Chapel Hill students criticizing Nike's
     marketing partnership with the university: "[Y]ou can't
     blame a bizillion-dollar shoe company for trying to sell
     stuff and making deals toward that end. ... So that
     shouldn't make anyone mad at Nike.  Instead, let's direct
     the attention where it belongs -- squarely with the
     university's leaders" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/20).

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