harder, but still doesn't exactly "get it." The company clearly realizes it
made a mistake with its ad (see second story, below) and issued a statement
Oct. 24; but phrases like "people with different abilities" and "sufered a
spinal cord injury and is confined to a wheelchair" show the company still
doesn't really understand crip culture.
"Disabilities in any form are no laughing matter," says the now
overly-sincere company. Well.... Maybe they should start watching John
Callahan's 8th-grader, Pelswick
NIKE STATEMENT RE: AIR DRI-GOAT AD
"We have heard from a number of people who took offense to a particular
paragraph within an ad running in the United States for the Nike ACG Air Dri-Goat trail running shoe currently running in several outdoor magazines. We
offer a sincere apology to those people, their family and friends. Clearly,
disabilities of any form are no laughing matter and that paragraph should not
have been included in the ad. We are immediately pulling this offensive ad
from future publication.
"The intent of the print ad for the Air Dri-Goat trail running shoe was to
communicate the benefits of using the right equipment to prevent injuries. We
certainly did not mean to offend, or make light of any form of disability.
"Nike has a long and proud history of supporting the athletic goals of
people of all levels of ability. We firmly believe in the philosophy of our
late co-founder, legendary track coach Bill Bowerman, who said, "If you have a
body, you are an athlete." Nike has a strong record on employing people with
different abilities, and has included athletes as diverse as Craig Blanchette,
Casey Martin, Ric Munoz and others in its advertising. Nike also outfitted the
2000 Australian Paralympic Team. A former Nike president, Bob Woodell,
suffered a spinal cord injury and is confined to a wheelchair, and we have a
Disabled Employee Network."
Crip community outraged at Nike Ad
community expressed its outrage over a Nike ad in the Oct. 2000 print edition
of Backpacker magazine.
The ad, for a running shoe called the Air Dri-Goat, reads,
Fortunately the Air Dri-Goat features a patented goat-like outer sole
for increased traction so you can taunt mortal injury without actually
experiencing it. Right about now you're probably asking yourself "How can a
trail running shoe with an outer sole designed like a goat's hoof help me
avoid compressing my spinal cord into a Slinky on the side of some
unsuspecting conifer, thereby rendering me a drooling, misshapen
non-extreme-trail-running husk of my former self, forced to roam the earth
in a motorized wheelchair with my name embossed on one of those cute little
license plates you get at carnivals or state fairs, fastened to the
back?" . . .
Who's worse? Nike,
for producing the ad, or Backpacker magazine, for running it? Before the
anti-PC crowd starts calling crips "thin-skinned," try substituting some
racist or homophobic description in place of the "drooling, misshappen" stuff.
You think Nike would try running an ad like THAT? If it's not OK to use anyone
else as a bad image, how come it's OK to use a crip for one?
Here's the Nike
ad as it appears in magazines. But it's a graphic -- can't be read by
At their website, which is virtually inaccessible to anyone who doesn't own
a high-speed, Java- and Shockwave-enhanced computer (and you can forget access
for speech readers!), Nike has this to say about itself:
Nike. A sports and fitness company. Built by thousands of
professionals. Professionals who are players, not spectators. Professionals
who elevate. . . . The word itself means to improve morally. To lift
up intellectually or culturally. Exhilarated in mood and feeling. At Nike,
we're thinking about the big idea behind diversity. How it's based on
teamwork and what we can do together instead of apart. We're moving beyond
how most people view diversity by not focusing on what makes us
different. But on what makes us better."
Well, you couldn't have guessed it from the ad for their Air Dri-Goat shoe.