Despite Nike’s long history of using slave labor to produce their products, the company has become the face of social justice for the political left with its newest ad featuring Colin Kaepernick.
Nike has been accused and proven guilty of paying their workers slave wages, providing horrible working conditions and using child labor to manufacture their products due to outsourcing in Asian countries. Nike’s goal with the Kaepernick endorsement was to spark debate in order to gain publicity and increase profits.
For the past several years, Nike’s profits have been decreasing due to their strong competition. Recently, they saw their slowest growth in seven years and they were the worst performing Dow stock of 2016.
Nike needed a way to elevate themselves once again before becoming irrelevant due to major competitors, and they found the perfect way. Since the company endorsed the controversial face of American sports, debate about Nike has yet to subside.
Kaepernick is primarily known for kneeling during the national anthem while he was the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. He argued that his purpose was to raise awareness for police racism and eventually end police brutality against the black community and stop racial injustice and inequality. Last week, Nike made Kaepernick the figurehead of their next round of marketing for a new apparel line.
Nike is using a widely supported political movement to increase their profits with little regard for those who are truly affected by racial inequality in America. A study from the University of Chicago entitled “Conspicuous Consumption and Race” states:
That Blacks and Hispanics devote larger shares of their expenditure bundles to visible goods (clothing, jewelry, and cars) than do comparable Whites. We demonstrate that these differences exist among virtually all sub-populations.
In accordance with the findings of this study, the conclusion can be drawn that Nike chose Kaepernick not for their support of his movement but because by appealing to the black community they will make a larger profit.
Due to the company’s stocks and relevance decreasing, they chose a spokesman who draws massive public attention. Nike has proven throughout its time as a company that they do not support racial equality.
Nike uses slave labor to produce their products to ensure a higher profit for their executives. It was observed in one Nike factory that “workers [were] routinely collapsing unconscious at their work stations from overwork and excessive heat, then being forced to return to work minutes after waking up.”
Nike has produced their products in sweatshops across the Asian continent for years. In some countries, the workers are still facing hardships like the denial of wages, sweltering heat, physical abuse and unsafe conditions.
This company continues to use harmful business practices while selling their products at an remarkably high rate despite the unbelievably low production cost.
A company which supports the use of modern day slavery does not care about social justice nor fixing the racial inequality their spokesman so strongly believes needs to be addressed.
What is really disheartening is that Kaepernick took this deal with Nike. For someone who invokes the historical memory of slavery in his claimed attempts to fight racial injustice, he is making millions off the use of modern day slavery.
If you are going to fight for equality, then fight for equality. Don’t say you’re fighting for equality while lining your pockets with the money of low income people and promoting the enslavement of Asian workers.
If you wear Nike because of Kaepernick, you sincerely need to rethink your values. It is more than just promoting racial equality in America, by buying Nike, you are essentially saying that you support the use of slave labor. If you are wearing Nike because you believe that minorities are less privileged and are a target of authoritative forces, then why would you support Nike – a company whose actions completely contradict those beliefs.
Nike is a sleazy, Gilded Age-type capitalist company that is only looking to increase its wealth at the expense of their workers. They have no desire to better the world in which they live by fixing racial inequality.
If you want to support black communities, buy local items from those communities because it will help elevate their economy and won’t support the use of slaves in the modern world. Nike is not using the profits from their Kaepernick line to help improve black communities, nor are they bringing jobs back to the United States.
So what is the purpose of their endorsement of Kaepernick? It’s to make money for themselves. What they are doing is sickening and hypocritical. Feeding off the real life struggles of those from less privileged communities to increase their own wealth is one of the worst marketing ploys I’ve ever witnessed.
Before you blindly follow a company because their marketing tactics seem to mean something, you need look at the business practices of that company. You cannot say that you support Nike because they promote racial equality when they use modern day slaves. It is contradictory and disappointing that Americans will forget the wrongs Nike has and is committing just because they endorsed Kaepernick.
Photo courtesy of sbnation.com.