Nike sends letter supporting Metro nondiscrimination bill

Monday, March 14, 2011 at 1:52pm

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.” 

Filed under: City News

11 Comments on this post:

By: Captain Nemo on 3/15/11 at 5:10

This letter is a good sign that Nashville is in the 21st century as for as civil liberties. It should be stated over the Courthouse entrance 18th century thinking not permitted.

By: BEOWULF on 3/15/11 at 5:50

BEOWULF: '“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.' - Wonderful thinking on the behalf of Nike and the Metro Council bill. Key words: EVERY AMERICAN!

By: wataboutbob on 3/15/11 at 6:38

Looks to me like a flagrant bid for free publicity from a company that still supports sweatshops in Asia.

By: d4deli on 3/15/11 at 6:39

Interesting words coming from a company who has shipped most of their business overseas for cheap labor. They don't make their shoes in the USA. Only New Balance athletic shoes are American made. I'm not impressed.

By: ccmishu on 3/15/11 at 6:57

Might want to check those New Balances. My husband's aren't american made. Only 25% of shoes sold in North America are made and assembled here.

By: FLeFew on 3/15/11 at 9:41


Anyone except a evangelical Christian businessman who is concerned about the people he associates with is welcome to do business with the city.

By: Loretta Bridge on 3/15/11 at 11:08

Nike could spend some money on bringing some jobs to Nashville. Some that they are now underpaying people in other countries.

By: pnance on 3/15/11 at 12:23

Not quite ready to take moral advice from a shoe maker whose main claims to fame are a strong marketing department and a worse-than-weak record on workers' rights -- most of whom are outside the USA.

By: Bellecat on 3/15/11 at 12:49

"Nike is passionately supportive of its employees, respectful of our consumers".

This is an incredulous statement from a company who moved their shoe production overseas in order to bypass the American worker and pay the overseas workers slave wages. They then bring those shoes back to America literally priced at hundreds of dollars in some cases, to market to the very American
workers/ consumers they repeatedly show contempt for when it comes to employment. This alone makes any PR they spin questionable, if not downright irrelevant.

By: Radix on 3/15/11 at 1:57

Is Nike gay? I don't get it....

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