Sucking up to China to protect its lucrative cash flow, Nike’s CEO says the American company’s brand is just doing it for China. The Swoosh is now figuratively intertwined with yellow stars on the red Chi-com flag.
Nike chief executive John Donahoe not only defended his woke Oregon-based company’s ties to China, but he also affirmed its competitive advantage in the Asian dictatorship, despite China’s notorious reputation for forced labor in the manufacturing of sports apparel.
“Nike is a brand that is of China and for China,” Donahoe unashamedly and unapologetically said.
Yahoo sports-writer Caroline Downey reported that Donahoe joined Nike in 2020 and has spent much time scoping out its operations in China. Greasing the skids with China, Donahoe said the company’s “biggest asset is consumer equity [in the brand] ... it’s real, I saw it in my first week on the job.”
Nike has tried to play it both ways – claiming it opposes China’s forced labor camps and trying to protect its lucrative revenue stream from the evil regime.
On one hand, Nike issued a statement in March expressing concern about reports of forced labor camps in the Xinjiang region. Nike claimed it does not source supplies or products from that part of China. On the contrary, Downey wrote “supply chains are so convoluted that critics have argued Nike can’t guarantee that some of its cotton doesn’t come from forced labor.”
On the other hand, Nike (along with Apple and Coca “Woka” Cola) lobbied to weaken a Congressional bill that would ban the import of Chinese goods suspected of being manufactured by forced laborers. The bill passed House and Senate committees this spring, no thanks to Nike and the other ethically challenged companies mentioned above.
China’s brutal regime continually rejects accusations of human rights abuses despite clear evidence indicting the state, Downey wrote. Complicit Chinese celebrities, including pop star and former Nike brand ambassador Wang Yibo, condemned Nike’s statement of concern as “unfounded smearing.” Calls for boycotts also rang out in China, endangering Nike’s profit stream.
Downey’s report goes on to say:
“As Nike’s market in China continues to grow, it raises questions about how far the company will go to preserve its financial foothold and opportunities for expansion there. Nike’s much delayed reaction to the mistreatment of unskilled workers, mostly of the Uighur Muslim minority, in China indicates a willingness to capitulate to the regime in order to remain lucrative.”
Recent financial reports indicated Nike’s revenues increasing in China, and Donahoe appears to be more concerned about the bottom line than human rights and corporate responsibility. He raved about Nike’s 40-year presence in China and its strong performance there. Despite the exploitation of Uighur slaves.
Downey concluded her story by commenting that the timing of Donahoe’s tepid remarks are troubling. Nike, Disney and other American companies engaged in ultra-profitable associations with China are “appeasing and ignoring the Chinese regime’s abuses perpetrated against its own people.”
And if Nike is cozying up to the Chinese, it’s no wonder that LeBron James and other athletes seeing big Chinese $$$ signs are keeping their mouths zipped up tight as well. While China shows them the money, they see no evil. As I’ve previously pointed out, these superstar athletes simply refuse to acknowledge the systemic racism in China.