GOINS: Kyrie and Nike are both ethical disasters

<p>A pair of Nike Air Force 1s. Jacob Musselman, DN</p>

A pair of Nike Air Force 1s. Jacob Musselman, DN

Brayden Goins is a first-year Sports Administration major and writes for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. 

Following Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving’s incident where he shared a link on Twitter promoting an Anti-Semitic documentary, Celtics star Jaylen Brown voiced his opinion on Nike.

“Since when did Nike care about ethics?” Brown said in a tweet replying back to Nike’s founder Phil Knights' comments on Kyrie.

Now let's take a deep dive into why Jaylen Brown made the comment he did. Nike has never been a company to have perfect ethical values. In 2018, Nike was sued by past female employees claiming that Nike had gender discrimination and sexual harassment workplace. 

But that single lawsuit isn’t the only problem with Nike. When Nike first started they were initially under contract with Japan and would make their products there. Once Japan got too expensive they looked for another place to put their factories. They then settled in Vietnam, China and Indonesia. Since Nike made these factories in these countries there have been allegations and proof of forced labor, child labor, widespread harassment, poor working conditions and abuse. 

In the late ’90s, Life Magazine went to a Nike factory in Indonesia where they took pictures and published photos of little kids stitching soccer balls and doing other various activities that no child should do. There were also problems in Vietnam where an audit of a factory was released to the public and was found that there were various dangerous chemicals in the factory and employees had health problems due to these chemicals, but nothing was confirmed.

Nike also received the worst rating for their cotton sourcing policy from the Ethical Consumer, due to the fact that it has a very muddy approach to using pesticides and herbicides. They also use dangerous chemicals to preserve their leather longer.

There have also been false advertisements within the Nike company. Though not as bad as child labor, false advertising can be a problem. Nike has also had claims of not paying their taxes fully. An ITEP report in 2021 showed that Nike paid a whopping $0 in Federal Income tax despite making $44.5 Billion. Now, not all that money was made within the US borders but you can be sure that well over a couple billion were.

Phil Knight has come out and said that the relationship with Kyrie Irving is most likely going to be brought to an end. Irving has apologized for what he did but he was still suspended for 5 games and most likely going to lose his contract with Nike. Almost all NBA owners have condemned the actions of Irving but some players including, former teammate Lebron James, have called for the NBA to drop his suspension.

“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play," said James in a tweet. "That’s what I think. It’s that simple... Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO [in my opinion] [sic]. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him.”

Irving has been the face of a lot of controversy in recent years but so has Nike. Both have been ethically incorrect in many areas and there is room for both of them to learn. Neither Irving nor Nike are in the right they are both in the wrong. 

Will Nike and Irving ever fix their issues and become better than they are now? I’m not sure but I hope they can both improve to improve the world we live in today.

Contact Brayden Goins at brayden.goins@bsu.edu or on Twitter @b_goins14.


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