Nike Ad Touts Equality, But Has None on Board, Executive Committee or Even its Ad Agency
The company's "Just do it" slogan does not apply to diversity for its board members.
Nike's newest "Equality" ad has created a lot of buzz, with the media calling it a "powerful message" and a "forceful call" to equality. However, a look at the company's nearly all-white and almost all-male boardroom tells a different story.
Set in black and white, the ad features athletes in various sports, and a narrator says:
Is this the land history promised? Here, within these lines? On this concrete court? This patch of turf? Here, you're defined by your actions — not your looks, or beliefs. Equality should have no boundaries. The bonds we find here should run past these lines. Opportunity should not discriminate. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. Worth should outshine color. If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere.
The commercial features LeBron James and Kevin Durant, both Nike-sponsored athletes; Serena Williams; Victor Cruz; Gabby Douglas; Megan Rapinoe; and Dalilah Muhammad. Throughout the commercial Alicia Keys sings, "It's been a long, long time coming. And I know, and I know, change gonna come. Oh yes it will. Change is gonna come, oh yes it will."
But a look at the company's boardroom tells a different story of equality. Of its 11 board members, only three — or about 20 percent — are female. And racial diversity is not present, either, and looks exactly the same as it did in FY 2011.
Nike Board of Directors by Ethnicity (FY 2015)
The executive committee isn't any better — eight of nine people pictured are men, and there's only one non white person, no Asians, no apparent Latinos. http://about.nike.com/pages/executives
Nike's long term ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy has a similar astonishing lack of diversity. Of the seven people pictured on their website, their "next generation of leadership" is almost all white men.
Pictures of the company's Portland and New York employees appear to show some racial and gender diversity in New York but leave it unclear for Portland employees, just outside where Nike is headquartered.
The company attempted to support pay equity but brought attention to its own board's lack of diversity.
Nike has in recent years taken steps to be more transparent about its workforce, particularly after it was discovered several years ago that their shoes are manufactured in sweatshops — an issue found across many manufacturing companies. The company began putting out a sustainability report every year, highlighting its practices and acknowledging where work remains to be done.
According to its report, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 only 49 percent of the contract factories Nike uses to produce its products met the bronze standard on the company's Sustainable Manufacturing and Sourcing Index (SMSI). For FY 2015 this went up to 85 percent.
However, room for improvement remains in Nike's leadership ranks aside from its board. For FY 2011 and FY 2015 racial diversity in leadership/management employees barely changed.
U.S. Leadership/Management Roles by Ethnicity
|FY 2011||FY 2015|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||1%||<1%|
|Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander||<1%||0%|
|Two or More Races||0%||2%|
*Numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
The campaign was put out by advertising company Wieden+Kennedy. Wieden+Kennedy's website does not list its board of directors, but photos on the company's blog show no racial diversity. And pictures of the company's Portland and New York employees show what appears to be a mostly white workforce.
Nike President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker has outwardly spoken in opposition of President Donald Trump. He sent a letter to all of his employees slamming Trump's ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the United States.
"Nike believes in a world where everyone celebrates the power of diversity," Parker wrote. "Regardless of whether or how you worship, where you come from or who you love, everyone's individual experience is what makes us stronger as a whole."
Perhaps Parker should apply his message of strength in diversity to his own company, as studies have repeatedly shown that companies with greater diversity in its leadership ranks are more profitable than those without.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' (No. 5 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) annual corporate survey, published in October, questioned more than 800 corporate directors of public companies. Of the participants, 71 percent serve on the boards of companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
When breaking down the statistics between the male and female respondents, a disparity in perspectives is revealed:
- Women directors are much more likely to think board diversity improves company performance — 89 percent compared to 24 percent of men.
- Women directors overwhelmingly believe board diversity improves board effectiveness — 92 percent versus 38 percent of men.
DiversityInc Top 50 survey data found a correlation between women representation on boards and diversity-management performance. The DiversityInc Top 50, on average, has 34 percent more women on its boards than all other participating companies.
Meanwhile, a comprehensive global study that researched nearly 22,000 companies in 91 countries, conducted by EY (No. 3) and The Peterson Institute for International Economics found last year that companies with women in management were more profitable than companies with fewer women in these positions.
The study, "Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence From a Global Study," concluded that a company with even just 30 percent female leaders can earn an additional 6 percentage points of profit.
Incidentally, Nike's ad campaign also served as a sales ad. The company will be selling shirts that say "Equality" as part of a Black History Month collection.
Like Nike, Audi recently aired a commercial about equality as well. During the Super Bowl, Audi ran an ad about the gender pay gap; the company's efforts were widely praised on social media. However, some Twitter users also pointed to Audi's all-male board of directors.
Ken Harrelson said James should keep his "nose out of politics and just play."
Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, a longtime Chicago White Sox broadcaster in his final season in the booth, attempted to slam NBA superstar LeBron James, and other athletes, who voice their opinion on politics.
Free Daily Newsletter
We won't share your email with anyone.
"I just wanted to do my part in providing opportunities for our future leaders," Hart said.
Actor and comedian Kevin Hart, the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), and the United Negro College Fund have partnered to provide scholarships for 18 students to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Black Activist Exposes White Chicago Cops Allegedly Caught on Camera Using 'Bait Truck' Filled with Nike Shoes
Chicago cops would rather lure residents to steal and create criminals versus going after real ones.
On Aug. 2, a white semi-truck, left partially-opened, appeared in the Englewood section of Chicago's south side. It was parked near a basketball court where neighborhood residents were out in full force enjoying the hot, summer weather.
The athlete aims to provide for Ohio, where Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education seem to fail.
LeBron James refuses to allow society to box him into being solely an athlete. Knowing first-hand what it means to overcome adversity at an early age, the L.A. Lakers' newest star has found the ultimate way to give back to his hometown by opening the "I Promise School."
If we were to break this down from the perspective of team ability, it's fair to say that James and his partnership with Akron Public Schools are currently starters, while Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education are second string.
Bill Shine, fired Fox News co-president of misogyny, upstaged by his ignoramus spouse.
Darla Shine's racist beliefs filled her Twitter page, which she deleted as soon as the White House announced that her husband, Bill Shine, was officially joining the Trump administration as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications.
Shine's racist statements dating back to 2015 included questioning why white people would be labeled racist for using the N-word and mocking African nations and Black hair.
On Friday, Mediate published a report with screenshots obtained from her Twitter account, @darlashine, before it was deleted.
In January, in defense of President Donald Trump's sh**hole comment about African nations, she tweeted a racist meme making fun of the progress of African nations when compared to Europe:
She mocked the hairstyles of Black women:
"If white chicks can't perm their hair – Black chicks can't go blonde."
She bashed NBA players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, who spoke out about police-related shootings during the ESPY awards in 2016.
"Comical to see these over paid Black sports stars give Black Lives Matter speech at ESPYs."
She constantly voiced her opinion against the Black Lives Matter movement:
"Imagine the protests if three white teens murdered a Black woman #AmandaBlackburn Only Black Lives Matter I guess," said a tweet about the fatal 2015 shooting of Amanda Blackburn in Indianapolis.
"The new stand-in President at #mizzou is Black. Will every white College President have to be replaced," she said a 2015 tweet.
Shine had a problem with Black people being able to say the N-word while she and other white people can't.
"Funny how critics calling to ban Gone With the Wind, Jefferson Memorial, but no talk of banning the N-word or Rap songs with N-word in it."
"Just singing to one of my jams 'Golddigger' by Kanye West when I realized If I sing along to the verse 'Broke Ni**er' I might be a racist," tweeted Shine in July 2015 (West's song does not include a hard R version of the slur).
"At FSU u can punch a girl in the face & only get kicked off football team but sing a song with the N word in it & you're expelled at Oklahoma," said a 2015 tweet.
"Rebel Flag off State Buildings in SC but cop killer rap songs, songs about rape, and songs with N word continue to play on the radio."
Shine linked Black children with an anti-vaccination conspiracy theory:
"1 out of 10 Black boys has autism," said a February 2016 tweet.
In addition to Shine consistently bashing Black people over the years, she has made some disparaging posts about Muslims. She said the following in regard to ABC firing Roseanne Barr over her racist tweet directed at Valerie Jarrett:
"Wondering what it was that set off the #ABC execs the #Ape comment or really the #MuslimBrotherhood comment," she said a tweet in May.
Prior to working at the White House, Shine's husband was a Fox News co-president who resigned from the network in May 2017 following Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes sexual harassment allegations. Apparently, at the same time Bill Shine was at a network where "institutional racism blunts efforts to attract a more multicultural audience," Darla Shine, a former television producer and author of a book called "Happy Housewives," was spreading the same type of racism on social media.
In regard to Darla Shine's social media history, the White House has not responded to requests from media for comment.
Connect With DiversityInc
LeBron James, Once Told to 'Shut Up and Dribble,' Is a Black Athlete Who Stays Woke While Managing His Success
James, in the spotlight for his latest move to the Los Angeles Lakers, doesn't shy away from addressing racial issues in the U.S.
LeBron James trended on social media on Sunday for signing a four-year, $153.3 million contract with the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time. Since his six-year contract with the Miami Heat in 2010, it's the longest deal he's signed, according to ESPN.
The company not only has a problem accelerating women into leadership roles but also has a boys-club culture.
As Nike Inc. continues to fail in hiring and retaining women at leadership levels and grapples with the alleged sexist behavior of executives, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Antoine Andrews has left the company.
Free Daily Newsletter
We won't share your email with anyone.
Employees received a memo that the company has failed to achieve change.
Nike Inc.'s HR Chief Monique Matheson informed employees on Wednesday that the company has failed in both promoting and hiring women and minorities to senior-level positions.
But this is not surprising as Nike's executive leadership team is predominantly white and male. Mark Parker, the company's chairman, president and CEO since 2006, apparently has not made diversity a priority.