A week after Nike released a new advertising campaign that said “Don’t Do It,” and told viewers not to “pretend there’s not a problem in America,” the company turned the microscope on itself. In a memo to employees on Friday, CEO John Donahoe said that “while we strive to help shape a better society, our most important priority is to get our own house in order.” Donahoe continued, saying that Nike’s diversity and inclusion efforts “have a long way to go.”
In recent years, Nike employees have criticized the company regarding its lack of diversity and poor treatment of employees, especially women. According to a Nike diversity report, 21.6% of the company’s workforce was Black or African American, down from 23.5% in 2017. However, just 4.8% of the company’s directors were Black or African American in 2019.
Nike announced that it was making a $40 million commitment over the next four years to “support the Black community in the U.S.” That effort will be led by Craig Williams, the president of Jordan Brand.
In a separate effort, Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand announced that it was donating $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice, and greater access to education.
“We have encountered racism to be somewhat acceptable in certain circles,” Jordan told The Charlotte Observer. “We’ve got to understand at an early age (that can’t be tolerated). Education is such an important part.”
Adidas came under internal scrutiny last week regarding how the company supports its Black employees and community-at-large. A group, representing over 150 company members, sent a 32-page document titled “Our State of Emergency” to the company’s North American managers including president Zion Armstrong. In the document, it asked Adidas to “invest in its black employees; invest in the black community; invest in the fight for racial justice and change for black people; and demonstrate accountability.”