Sunday, June 18, 2006

Oregonian Calls On Nike To Save The World

Major Mike

I don't even know where to start with this tripe on the Oregonian's opinion page by Susan Nielsen..."Nikes for the boys, bare feet for the girls." This story is a predictable follow-on from a previously run "news" story in the Oregonian..."Shoe deals sidestep rule on equality in school" by Rachel Bachman on June 12, 2006.

Nielsen leads with..."Girls who play sports don't need Nike to teach them life isn't fair." There it is, Nike hates girls. Six paragraphs later, she finally mitigates her misguided missile with the limp..."Nike, in its defense, is a huge supporter of women in sport."

Here' the deal, since this is Oregon, and income redistribution is alway on the ballot, both the Oregonian and the legislature continue to view the businesses that operate in Oregon as cash cows, to be milked by the latest cause-de-celeb-de-jour.

Ms. Nielson is just the latest in a long line of do-gooders trying to get corporations, and Nike specifically, to hit the ever moving target of ..."the right thing." Of course she pushes for her cause...having Nike donate equally to boys and girls high school teams, who they support with free shoes...with a heaping helping of corporate smear, and a side dose of shame. That is certainly a way to get what you want from a company that is already a major supporter of women's causes...not in just sports, but globally, as well. Maybe Ms. Nielson should look past her back gate, and maybe she would get a broader picture of the world...not just her overly myopic and skewed socialistic views, fomented here in the Peoples' Repbulic of Oregon, and spewed into the Sunday paper.

My issues...

She could have done her the Nike Foundation mission statement here..., and see if you get the sense that this is a company that is ignoring women's issues...globally.

The sneaker program is currently operating within the existing limits of Title IX...don't like it? Change the law. Don't try to double the amount a company spends on this kind of marketing...then force half of the money to go into programs that don't support their marketing objectives. Companies are entitled to make decisions about how to market their products...whether they are viewed by a bunch of smarmy do-gooders as fair, or not, and these companies should not be made to feel guilty by the communities that they already support with employee incomes, taxes, donations, matching charitable contributions, donated employee time, and myriad of other programs that would make Ms. Nielson's charitable plea seem like pennies. Nonetheless, this remains a Nike decsion, and their contributions should be appreciated, and they should not be chided for the sharp, and sometimes "unfair" disparities that occur in the execution of their daily business.

What is the Oregonian doing about it? Why not write your piece about the Oregonian's lack of effort to correct this so-called deficiency? I guess the editors of the paper aren't willing to take pay cuts to make up the difference...then why should Nike employees be asked to do the same?

Tacking addtional invlountary costs to these programs is tantamount to a tax...why is Nike the only company that should have to pay a tax to outfit underpreforming girls/women's sports teams? How about the teachers union? Maybe they would like to pony up the money...if they aren't too busy using it to lobby for a host of liberal candidates in the next election. It is unfair for Nike to bear the entire burden. If it is a true inequity, the Oregonian should be calling for statewide support to end this "grevious" discrepancy, if it is minute in its impact...the Oregonian should quit advocating illegally adding business taxes without passing the necessary laws, and it should also quit trashing a generous neighbor.

The companies that choose to reside in Oregon are not checkbooks for every liberal cause that make the paper. Legally operating business are entitled to operate, legally, without the endless critique that currently occurs by those who work in a business that is continuoulsy losing money, or that can only operate in market monopolies. When the Oregonian is a $14B business, they can give away all the money they want, but until they learn something about "business," maybe they should quit telling other businesses how to run theirs.

Bottom line, Nike and dozens of other businesses have to draw the line in the marketing dollars they spend, and the number of inequities they can right in an inbalanced world with their limited amount of foundation dollars. To be called on this nuance...this wrinkle, compared to all else they do, is an cheap pot shot. They could give away all of their money, and still not right all the wrongs of this world...heck, we have proven since the end of WWII, that trillions of dollars can't do the trick...clamoring for a few pennies more, while snapping at the very hand you hope to receive it from, is no way to get what you're after.

Lastly, as a publicly traded company, by law, Nike is responsible to its shareholders first, and all others second, or beyond. It is a shame that there are inequities in the sports programs in Oregon high schools, but it is NOT Nike's responsibility to alleviate them.

1 comment:

Mr.Atos said...

Mrs. Nelson certainly deserves this week’s Bertram Scudder award. for anti-corporate propaganda journalism.

I appreciate that you put as the primary contribution of a company to its locality is employee income ( That is enough of a contribution for any business. Anything more is philanthropic and wholely optional. And it should be appreciated as such.

This community better learn to appreciate the businesses and corporations that it has, because they may just decide someplace else is more attractive a headquarters... like Boeing moving its major operations from Seattle (Renton) to Chicago. And note that Google went up river to build its local campus.