May 02, 2014

Nike rebuffs Chief Wahoo protest

Nike responds to Chief Wahoo protest

By Matthew KishNike on Friday issued a statement in response to a Native American group that wants Nike to stop selling merchandise with the Chief Wahoo logo of the Cleveland Indians.

The group protested Thursday outside the Nike headquarters in Washington County.

"Nike has a contractual partnership with Major League Baseball as the licensing agent for MLB team-approved marks," Nike said in the statement. "Each MLB team is responsible for choosing their team logos and marks and we understand that the Cleveland Indians are engaging their fans and the local community in conversation concerning their logo.

"Nike has a long history of supporting the Native American community and we encourage the teams and leagues to engage in constructive dialogue with their communities."

Nike is known for its commitment to diversity.
I doubt Nike's reply satisfied anyone, as a few tweets suggested:

BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics May 2
@jfkeeler Not a great response. Nike could challenge MLB themselves rather than wait for Natives to do it. Every contract has loopholes.

BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics May 2
@richardkoyd @jfkeeler Natives have protested Chief Wahoo for 40+ years. What's Nike's excuse for signing the contract in the first place?

BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics May 2
@jfkeeler Obviously, no sports team or supplier (Nike) cared about anti-mascot sentiment until Natives like you began protesting loudly.

Mike Wise ‏@MikeWiseguy May 3
@EONMassoc @Love2BFree2BMe It's like opening a foundation so brand survives. N7 gives them enough goodwill to still profit off a slur.

Nike statement on Chief Wahoo notes Major League Baseball contract

By Allan BrettmanNike's history of supporting the Native American community includes the N7 Fund, started in 2000 to support health promotion and disease prevention programs. Proceeds from the products designed through N7 are given to youth sport and physical activity programs in Native communities across North America through the N7 Fund. The fund has raised more than $2 million.

Jacqueline Keeler, a Portland woman who is spokesperson for the Native group, responded to Nike's statement Friday with a written statement saying, "We feel Nike's argument makes no sense because the logical conclusion to it is that they would sell any derogatory mascot if asked to do so no matter how badly it reflects upon their brand."

Keeler's statement also says the Native community in Cleveland "has been outspoken on the issue of Chief Wahoo for 45 years and the opinions of the community have been ignored and no meaningful dialogue has occurred. This despite the National Congress of American Indian's (national organization that represents the majority of Native people in the United States) calls since 1969 to stop the use of Native Mascots, especially Chief Wahoo which is a horrible caricature that dehumanizes Native people."
Native Americans Respond to Nike’s Refusal to Stop Selling Chief Wahoo Products

For more on Chief Wahoo, see Natives Demand Nike "De-Chief" and Chief Wahoo Hurts Bottom Line.

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