MK 354 Spring 2010

April 26, 2010

Nike’s Problem with Women

Filed under: blog #10, Uncategorized — carolinerichov @ 12:14 pm

Nike seems to be having troubles with their ethical priorities.  In 2007 Nike showed they had zero-tolerance for animal-cruelty when they dropped out of their contract with Michael Vick during his dog-fighting scandal.  Nike has sponsored other athletes including Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger. These all-stars have more in common than Nike… they all have shared the spotlight in regard to indecent and insulting behavior towards women.

Most recently, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was suspended for six games without pay and ordered to receive counseling after a 20-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault. This is Roethlisberger’s second sexual assault allegation in the past year.  A number of blogs and articles have discussed the disturbing charges against Roethlisberger in greater detail. Roethlisberger’s local sponsors “Big Ben’s Beef Jerky” and local newspaper dropped Roethlisberger immediately.  Nike, however, is holding on to Roethlisberger’s contract.  New York Times opinon writer, Timothy Egan, could not have said it better,

“Is there anything creepier than a big, beer-breathed celebrity athlete exposing himself in a night club and hitting on underage girls, all the while protected by an entourage of off-duty cops? Well, yes. It’s the big, corporate sponsor — Nike, in this case — that continues trying to sell product with the creep as their role model.”

Nike took immediate action when cruelty to animals became an issue with one of their spokespersons.  Unfortunately, when Woods, Bryant and Roethlisberger showed disrespect towards women, Nike continued to support them.

Women, Action & the Media is concerned with the representation of women in media.  Nike’s choice to continue contracts with these athletes desensitizes the severity of sexual assault, violence and infidelity.  Nike needs to prioritize what they consider to be unacceptable. Cruelty to animals is unacceptable, yes, but so is cruelty to women.  Nike’s continued support of these sponsored athletes is a clear example of why WAM! advocates gender justice in the media. WAM! organizes conferences and discussion groups to address issues such as this in order to formulate a response and take action. 

It certainly will be interesting to see how Nike will respond to all of this. ..

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