SBD/19/Sports Industrialists

THE KID'S GLOVES COME OFF: GRIFFEY DEFENDS NIKE/CHIDES ESPN

          KEN GRIFFEY JR. writes a first-person cover story with
     Claire Smith in ESPN MAGAZINE where he talks of his
     relationship with Nike and today's media.  Griffey: "Nike
     doesn't force you to do anything you're not comfortable
     with.  Yes, I've gotten questions the last couple years
     about Nike: 'How come the factory workers are only making
     this much?'  I really got grilled by one reporter.  I said,
     If you give me a couple of days to find out about it, I'll
     answer all your questions.  And I got a printout a few days
     later, and showed him that factory workers are comparable to
     firemen, teachers, policemen and more in those societies. 
     That's what people don't get to see.  The just see numbers -
     - they're getting this, and we're getting this -- instead of
     dealing with what their societies make and what our society
     makes."  On the media: "There are a lot of things the media
     don't always understand.  I agree with ESPN on a lot of
     things, but certain things?  People have to be accountable
     for what they say and do.  Athletes, media, everybody.  So
     if you say something negative about somebody, at least give
     them an opportunity to answer.  I don't want to get
     wisecracks.  I want sports.  That's it.  But with ESPN, it's
     like a competition in the studio to see who can say the
     funniest line.  When somebody makes an error, guys in our
     position don't think it's funny.  Then you have the field
     guys at the ballpark wondering why this player or that
     player won't talk.  Send the guy who said the funny line to
     get the interview" (ESPN MAGAZINE, 8/24 issue).

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