The Arbiter ran two stories (December 10, 2012) about the branding of BSU by Nike. One focused on the lack of student involvement in the decision to change the logo, and the other explored the importance of the added income represented by Nike’s involvement in BSU athletics. I suggest that the Arbiter and the BSU community look a bit beyond the blue and recognize that Nike, the largest manufacturer of athletic apparel in the world, has some serious labor and environmental issues in its supply chain. Nike has 896 factories in 47 countries and last year made 6.5 Billion. Given the branding and the contract signed by Nike and BSU, whatever Nike does implicates Boise State. Nike’s 150 page Code of Conduct may be impressive, but it will never be enforced or even monitored unless we, the consumers of their product, demand it. When we pull on our Nike’s, do we think about the over 1 million Nike workers who in some cases make a dollar and a half for a day’s work? Check out “Behind the Swoosh,” at educatingforjustice.org. Additional information can be found at Nikeinc.com, corporatewatch.org, and usas.org which represents University Students against Sweatshops.
Robert McCarl – Professor Sociology