Be like Nike: Nike Racism Lawsuit Settled for $7.6M, but did the slavemasters get off too easy?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

So here’s the deal. According to the lawsuit the Chicago Niketown store and its managers used racial slurs against its black employees and shoppers, segregated jobs so that the higher paid jobs went to white workers, and routinely told security to monitor not just black customers but also black employees because of their race.

Accordingly - although it has taken 4 years since the 2003 claim - Nike finally had to accept defeat. They have to pay out $7.6 million to 400 employees (those who have worked from 1999-the present), hire a diversity consultant not only for the Chicago store but also for their home base in Beaverton, hire on an ombudsperson, conduct diversity training, institute a mentorship program, and review store policies from equal opportunity to theft.

It’s definitely a win and I congratulate all the workers there who had the courage to stand up and fight in what must have been an already hostile environment.


If you figure the settlement to be about $20,000 per person, you have to ask yourself if Nike got off TOO EASY? I mean for 400 employees, some as far back as 1999 that got relegated to the back of the bus status - shouldn’t that be worth more?

Actually scratch the question of if NIKE got off too easy.


I mean c’mon - for a company that has built its name on some of the greatest athletes and icons in the world who are people of color you’ve got to be kidding me - I mean basically Nike is saying to the world:

If you are a person of color and you are a great athlete, please come and sit at the dinner table with us, because we would love to have you. But if you’re not, go to the back of the bus, drink at the other fountain, don’t vote, stay below the ceiling, and be a nice little slave boy and girl like you should be.

If that’s the message - and it is - Nike definitely got off too damn easy.