Tag Archives: Nike

Marriage Equality: Good for Business

25 Jan

Support Pro-Equality Businesses

Since Gov. Christine Gregoire‘s passionate speech launching a push for full marriage equality in Washington state, things have moved forward quickly. Enough members of the Washington House and Senate have indicated support for a marriage equality bill to make its passage very likely. It looks like our neighbor to the north will become the seventh state to offer full equality to same-sex couples some time this year.

One pleasant surprise in this effort has been the outspoken support from the Northwest business community. A number of powerful companies are headquartered in Washington (including Microsoft and Starbucks). Seven regional companies have written to the Governor and the Legislature indicating their support for marriage equality. After watching the anti-gay efforts of companies like Target, let’s take a moment to celebrate these firms. Three cheers to:

  • Starbucks,
  • Microsoft,
  • Nike,
  • Vulcan,
  • RealNetworks,
  • Concur, and
  • GroupHealth.

Other major companies from Washington score very high on the HRC Corporate equality index, including Amazon.com (90), Costco (90), and Boeing (85). Let’s hope they add their vocal support to this equality effort. As Starbucks Vice-President Kalen Holmes so eloquently states:

Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Starbucks strives to create a company culture that puts our partners first, and our company has a lengthy history of leading and supporting policies that promote equality and inclusion. This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners. It is core to who we are and what we value as a company.

Bravo to businesses that understand the value of all their customers.

Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 3, John Amaechi

3 Jun

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to John Amaechi.  Many of you may remember that TSM published Amaechi’s response to Kobe Bryant’s using the word “faggot.”  Amaechi was the first NBA player to come out publicly and documents his journey and struggle of being gay in a notoriously homophobic industry, a la Joakim Noah, in his memoir Man in the Middle.  Since retiring from basketball, Amaechi has been an activist for equality and lends his voice to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).  How nice to see a great sports role model for all kids–“we are everywhere.”

Bryant, Noah, McDowell: Quite the Ménage à Trois

28 May

L'Amour, L'Amour, L'Amour

Thanks to my friend Jen Lockett for inspiring this story.  That past few months have done nothing to encourage LGBT youth to engage in sports.  In April we witnessed Klassy Kobe with his Queer Bashing.  Then in May, Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell made national headlines for making anti-gay slurs at a group of fans in San Francisco. “He also made crude gestures at the fans, in full view of children who were in the crowd,” McDowell’s over the top homophobia may be an indication that he is spending time in bathroom stalls tapping his foot waiting for Larry Craig.  And to round out this trio of twisted troglodytes, we had Joakim Noah also using the word “faggot,” perhaps he was addressing a love interest.

While all three bigots made the 3 minute obligatory apologies, none of them rang true.  When will it become completely unacceptable to use homophobic epithets?  John Amaechi, the now retired and openly gay NBA star recalls how painful it was for him upon coming out:

First of all, I wouldn’t want him on my team,” Hardaway told a radio host in 2007. “You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.

My personal experience is that men who truly are heterosexual and comfortable being heterosexual have absolutely no problem with gays.  However, those that are not secure in their sexuality seem to prove to be squeaky wheels, or at least they were being squeaked. Again, I ask when is enough enough?  When do we stop rewarding bigoted behavior?  When will companies like Nike say: “sorry, but we don’t want homophobic bigots representing our company?  Click here to see the full article.

Nike Stands Behind Bigot Bryant: Follow Up Interview

19 Apr

Boycott Bigots of Nike

As TSM reported, Kobe Bryant has appealed the fine assessed for calling a referee a “faggot” during a Lakers game last week. Nor have we learned of any action to substantiate his words of apology.  What is worse is that Nike has made it clear that they will support the bigoted Bryant regardless; after all he is an “athlete.”  When I asked Nike for a response regarding Bryant’s appeal to the fine, I got:

There has been no change in Nike’s position or statement beyond our conversation on Friday. I would decline to comment further at this time.

I then asked if Nike would could please explain what are the criteria for hiring an “athlete” as a spokesperson.  Nike’s official response:

Michael, again, I am going to decline to comment further at this time.

The diversity statement that Nike publishes on their website apparently is just as hollow as Bryant’s apology.  Nike must use the Senator Kyl philosophy where their words are not intended to represent truth. While Bryant may not have intended to specifically refer to that individual referee as a “faggot,” it is clear that it was the first word that came to mind. Nike has now made a clear decision, sadly true, that it is perfectly acceptable to use a pejorative against the LGBT community. I can only wonder what all of the LGBT employees at Nike must be thinking.  Like Target, I am now calling for a world-wide boycott of Nike. I encourage all LGBT folks and LGBT allies to contact the HRC to change the status of Nike.

When will it finally be unacceptable to use slurs against the LGBT community? This seems like a perfectly appropriate opportunity to call your attention to how attitudes shape the risk of suicide attempts amongst LGBT youth.

“If you have questions, concerns or would like more information about Nike’s manufacturing practices, environmental issues, diversity or philanthropic policies and activities around the world, please call us at 1-800-344-6453 – (7 a.m. – 4 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday).”

John Amaechi’s Response to Kobe Bryant

16 Apr

A True Role Model

John Amaechi is the former N.B.A. player who came out of the closet and identifies as a gay man. His comments regarding Kobe Bryant’s gay slur are worth noting. First, I think all of us need to know that Bryant is now appealing the $100,000 fine, less than pocket change for him. I will be contacting Nike again to get their response.  I’m not encouraged.  The interview I had with Nike left me with the feeling that they will support him regardless, thus not having any substance behind their diversity statement. Bryant’s apology is seemingly more and more like hollow words recommended by his PR person. My faith in Nike is now also starting to deteriorate.  Nike’s continued support of Kobe sends a clear message that it will continue to be unsafe for gay athletes to live their lives honestly. If we are to really believe both Bryant and Nike, Bryant will not only pay the fine, but donate his time and money to an LGBT cause, as Nike should be donating some money to an LGBT cause. Amaechi does a lovely job with this brief summary and analysis:

When someone with the status of Kobe Bryant, arguably the best basketball player in a generation, hurls that antigay slur at a referee or anyone else — let’s call it the F-word — he is telling boys, men and anyone watching that when you are frustrated, when you are as angry as can be, the best way to demean and denigrate a person, even one in a position of power, is to make it clear that you think he is not a real man, but something less.

I challenge you to freeze-frame Bryant’s face in that moment of conflict with the referee Bennie Adams. Really examine the loathing and utter contempt, and realize this is something with which almost every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person is familiar. That is the sentiment people face in middle and high schools, in places of worship, work and even in their own homes across the United States.

Right now in America young people are being killed and killing themselves simply because of the words and behaviors they are subjected to for being perceived as lesbian or gay, or frankly just different. This is not an indictment of the individuals suffocated by their mistreatment, it is an indication of the power of that word, and others like it, to brutalize and dehumanize. This F-word, which so many people seem to think is no big deal, is the postscript to too many of those lives cut short.

For me, it has become clear that this is not just a case of homophobia, but that there are different rules for the super rich and for celebrities.  I am just horribly saddened that Kobe Bryant is a hero for anyone.  You know this is not a good person when Dick Cheney says: “I really need to get to know that good guy Kobe.”  Click here for the full article.

Klassy Kobe’s Queer Crime

14 Apr

Homophobic Bigot

Thank you Jennifer Lockett for inspiring this story.  Kobe Bryant, my what a charmer.  I suppose his next endorsement will be as the Orange Juice King with his partner in crime, Anita Bryant. Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for his emotional outburst of “f**king f**got,” after getting a technical foul during the game. What is most disturbing to me is not that he got emotional, but that the word faggot came right to mind as an appropriate word to use.  The fine means nothing to Bryant–it is pocket change at best. I would like to know what Nike is planning on doing? Nike, I welcome a response from any of your employees as to whether you will retain Bryant as an endorser of your products.  I hope the Lakers and Nike both do the right thing and dismiss Bryant.  How pathetic that we have people looking up to sports stars that possess great influence such as Bryant, but we don’t recognize our do-gooders that work to make the world a better place, such as our teachers.  Click here to see the full article.

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