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NIKE OFFERS GIRLS LEAGUES; CRITICS TAKE AIM AT NEW REFORMS
Published May 21, 1998
Nike yesterday announced plans for a girls basketball league in all 10 WNBA markets, according to W.H. Stickney of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The program, geared toward girls age eight to 18, "is an extension of Nike's successful grassroots initiative to increase awareness and interest for women's basketball" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/20). NIKE REFORMS: In a N.Y. TIMES op-ed, Bob Herbert writes on Nike's planned labor reforms, "Let's not be too quick to canonize Nike." While there is "both merit and a lot of smoke" in Nike Chair Phil Knight's recent child labor initiatives, the "biggest problem with Nike is that its overseas workers make wretched, below-subsistence wages," which Nike failed to address. Nike "blinked last week because it has been getting hammered in the marketplace and in the court of public opinion." But the company's "current strategy is to reshape its public image while doing as little as possible for the workers. ... Nike's still got a long way to go" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21). In an op-ed piece in USA TODAY, Lorraine Dusky writes that while Nike "can give away dazzling, multimillion-dollar piles of money to dozens of athletes ... surely it can afford to pay a living wage to those who make the shoes." Despite a 15% raise this year, Nike workers "are faring poorly." Dusky adds, "[W]hether I like it or not, my Nikes and I are at least partly to blame for the current crisis in Indonesia, no matter how far removed it all seems from us" (USA TODAY, 5/21). S.F. attorney Alan Caplan, a lead figure in CA's public-interest lawsuit against Nike which claims false advertising and unfair business practices, said Nike's recent initiatives "won't affect our litigation" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/19).