Is it just me or is this mammoth Nike takeover of all the NFL jerseys a little creepy? In fact, very creepy. Whatever about the whole ‘market monopoly’ aspect, we all know where these things are being made, right? Clue: There is no merry band of elves working away in comfortable, air conditioned factories with cheeseburger lunch breaks and free milkshake vending machines. We’re not talking a working-condition Utopia here.
The last 24 hours pretty much my entire Facebook news feed has been flooded with NFL fan friends urging me to check out their respective favorite teams new threads. The glossy, airbrushed pictures are kind of detached and alien for starters. Rather than the ridiculous, shredded, ripped, CGI type characters the NFL and NIKE are portraying the jerseys in, frankly I would be more interested in seeing how one fits over Vince Wilfork’s ample frame.
Back to the issue at hand, it is absolutely amazing how easily we all gloss over the whole Nike sweatshop thing. Don’t worry, I am not absolving myself of blame here (although I have made a concerted effort to switch from Nike to Adidas particularly in the last decade or so), but we all need to take a step back and remember where these glossy, shiny, fancy new jerseys are coming from.
‘’ I lived in conditions they lived in and on the wages they paid - $1.25 a day. I lost 25lbs in a month in a rat-infested slum in Tangerang, Indonesia, home to tens of thousands of the women and men who produce the Nike sneakers adored by so many athletes and consumers.’’
"I was in Indonesia as recently as August 2009 and in my meetings with workers I heard all too familiar stories of inadequate wages, forced overtime, illegal firings for union organizing, workers being cheated out of pay, etc."