The world’s most famous athletic shoe manufacturer has inserted itself into Nashville politics, with the company expressing support Monday of a pending Metro Council bill requiring city contractors to adopt nondiscrimination protections for gay, lesbian and transgender workers.
Orson C. Porter, Nike Inc.’s U.S. director of governance and public affairs, sent a letter to bill sponsor Councilman Mike Jameson on Monday, stating the company’s support for an ordinance it believes “seeks to uphold the basic principles of equality and fairness.”
The ordinance, which would require companies that do business with Metro to adopt the city’s nondiscrimination policy, is up for third and final reading Tuesday, March 15. A one-meeting deferral, however, seems likely, as bill sponsors anticipate the spring-break absence of several council supporters who helped clear the ordinance by a 21-16 on second reading in February.
Nike employs approximately 2,000 Tennesseans.
“By supporting this measure, you support the guiding principle that every American deserves a chance to compete and prosper on a level playing field,” the Nike letter reads.
“At Nike, we believe diversity and inclusion is about respecting our differences, leveraging our strengths and maximizing opportunity for everyone,” the letter continues. “Nike is passionately supportive of its employees, respectful of our consumers and committed to equality of athletes. As a result, these values make us a better company and more competitive in our industry.”