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Read Nike CEO John Donahoe’s note to employees on racism: We must ‘get our own house in order’


John Donahoe took over as Nike CEO in January 2020.

Kim Kulish | Corbis through Getty Images

Nike Chief Executive John Donahoe despatched a memo to employees Friday concerning the protests which have been sparked by the dying of George Floyd, saying the sneaker retailer must repair its own enterprise. 

“While we strive to help shape a better society, our most important priority is to get our own house in order,” the letter reads. 

“Nike needs to be better than society as a whole. … While we have made some progress over the past couple of years, we have a long way to go,” he mentioned about Nike’s variety and inclusion efforts. 

Donahoe mentioned employees have made this want for progress on the firm “loud and clear” to him over the previous two weeks. The firm can be committing $40 million over 4 years to help black communities, he mentioned, which will probably be spearheaded by Craig Williams, the president of the Jordan model. 

Donahoe’s note follows Nike releasing a shifting advert final Friday, telling viewers not to “pretend there’s not a problem in America.” The drop of the video on-line got here simply as protests had been starting to happen in cities nationwide, after a white police officer in Minnesota pressed a knee into Floyd’s neck and taking him into custody. 

“Don’t turn your back on racism,” the video, which has since been shared almost 100,000 instances on Twitter, says. 

Nike has been on the forefront of different social points earlier than. 

The firm’s “Dream Crazy” marketing campaign in 2018 for the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It” featured former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The soccer participant gained consideration after he started protesting police brutality towards African Americans by “taking a knee” through the nationwide anthem in 2016. 

To be certain, the corporate has arguably fallen brief and has been criticized in the previous for lack of variety amongst its own ranks, and poor remedy of employees — notably ladies. And some have mentioned Nike’s advertising rings hole due to this. 

Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards resigned in 2018 amid complaints about poor office conduct. And after a gaggle of girls circulated a casual survey that examined disparities in pay and development, Nike mentioned it boosted the salaries for greater than 7,000 staff. Some of Nike’s former feminine athletes, together with Olympic champion and runner Allyson Felix, additionally spoke out about their contracts being lower by Nike throughout their pregnancies. 

According to a variety report on Nike’s web site, 21.6% of the corporate’s complete workforce in 2019 was Black or African American, barely down from 23.5% in 2017. 

But as you progress up the management ranks, that share shrinks drastically. In 2019, simply 4.8% of Nike’s administrators had been Black or African American, and 9.9% of VPs recognized as that race. 

“We know Black Lives Matter,” Donahoe mentioned Friday. “We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by Black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates.” 

Here’s the total letter from Nike Chief Executive John Donahoe: 



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