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Published November 24, 1997
NIKE: Under the headline "This is 'The Right Thing," NEWSDAY's Steve Jacobson called on Nike's top athletes "to take Magic Johnson's lead in community investment and break away" from Nike and start a shoe company that would employ U.S. workers. Jacobson: "[Michael] Jordan is the Pied Piper leading kids to sneakers at $140 and more. His nod to conscience is to announce that his next model will come out on Saturday so kids don't skip school" (NEWSDAY, 11/23). Also in N.Y., Harvey Araton examined criticism aimed at Nike at the collegiate/university level and added that Jordan seems to be "looking into" allegations of Nike's labor abuses "the way Dennis Rodman is looking into having his tattoos removed. Whenever the heat is put on the marketing tandem of Jordan and Nike, they usually rush to the studio and make another commercial" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/22). GEARING UP: In the initial hours after the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets debuted their new name and logo, JCPenney stores showed a 128% increase in sales in its "Simply for Sports" department. After one week, the store's sales were up 32%, the highest total for JCPenney throughout the U.S. during this period (NHL). NHL Enterprises President Rick Dudley: "We see these same strong merchandise sales figures during the Stanley Cup playoffs" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/22). NOTES: The T-Wolves Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury have shot a commercial for ESPN Magazine. The two "gush about the new publication but ask ESPN to resist publishing a swimsuit issue." Garnett then looks into the camera and says, "Totally nude" (STAR TRIBUNE, 11/24)....European Union Health Commissioner Padraig Flynn said Britain's insistence on exempting Formula One racing from any ban on tobacco sponsorship in sports "was impossible," strengthening the possibility that some European races "could be dropped from the Grand Prix circuit" (AP/INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 11/21).