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THE SWOOSH & THE SWISH: CRITICS DEBATE PROS AND CONS OF NIKE

          Nike Chair Phil Knight is listed among the "Winners" of
     TIME's "Notebook" for announcing the company's new labor
     policy initiatives overseas: "Nike CEO will end child labor
     and improve factories abroad.  Go, Phil -- now hike that
     minimum wage!" (TIME, 5/25 issue).  In Dallas, Kevin
     Blackistone writes on Nike's planned reforms and states that
     wearing Nike products "was becoming increasingly
     uncomfortable, at least for me.  The only reason I hadn't
     yet turned a shoulder to Nike, as I once did consumer
     companies that did business with apartheid South Africa, was
     because Nike did so many good things in the world of sports. 
     It championed women's athletics.  It opened its boardroom to
     minorities.  It stood up for athletes it thought had been
     wronged."  Blackistone adds that the only issue that Knight
     failed to address in his announcement was "pay, which he
     should have.  But, this was a start. ... When the results
     come in, hopefully I'll feel better" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
     5/19).  A SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial stated that "as
     the first step to win back consumers' respect, Nike needs to
     show that it can take responsibility for how its products
     are made.  If it can monitor the quality of athletic shoes
     made in Indonesia and Vietnam, it should be able to monitor
     the quality of the air in the factory" (MERCURY NEWS, 5/18).
          AIR QUALITY: Michael Jordan, who earlier this year
     announced offseason plans to visit Nike's Asian plants, on
     the planned reforms: "I'm pretty sure people are going to
     say that there was some pressure put upon (Knight) to make
     those changes.  But if there's a need, then he has to.  I
     don't think that's going to alter my trip at all. ... I've
     still got to go for myself" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/19).
 
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