Ragged Edge Online

photo: goat Crips: "Drooling, misshapen husk of former self"
-- Nike ad

Nike issues formal apology

Nike tries harder, but still doesn't exactly "get it." The company clearly realizes it made a mistake with its ad (see second story, below) and issued a statement Oct. 24; but phrases like "people with different abilities" and "sufered a spinal cord injury and is confined to a wheelchair" show the company still doesn't really understand crip culture.

"Disabilities in any form are no laughing matter," says the now overly-sincere company. Well.... Maybe they should start watching John Callahan's 8th-grader, Pelswick Eggert.


"We have heard from a number of people who took offense to a particular paragraph within an ad running in the United States for the Nike ACG Air Dri-Goat trail running shoe currently running in several outdoor magazines. We offer a sincere apology to those people, their family and friends. Clearly, disabilities of any form are no laughing matter and that paragraph should not have been included in the ad. We are immediately pulling this offensive ad from future publication.

"The intent of the print ad for the Air Dri-Goat trail running shoe was to communicate the benefits of using the right equipment to prevent injuries. We certainly did not mean to offend, or make light of any form of disability.

"Nike has a long and proud history of supporting the athletic goals of people of all levels of ability. We firmly believe in the philosophy of our late co-founder, legendary track coach Bill Bowerman, who said, "If you have a body, you are an athlete." Nike has a strong record on employing people with different abilities, and has included athletes as diverse as Craig Blanchette, Casey Martin, Ric Munoz and others in its advertising. Nike also outfitted the 2000 Australian Paralympic Team. A former Nike president, Bob Woodell, suffered a spinal cord injury and is confined to a wheelchair, and we have a Disabled Employee Network."


Original story
Crip community outraged at Nike Ad

The crip community expressed its outrage over a Nike ad in the Oct. 2000 print edition of Backpacker magazine.

The ad, for a running shoe called the Air Dri-Goat, reads,


Fortunately the Air Dri-Goat features a patented goat-like outer sole for increased traction so you can taunt mortal injury without actually experiencing it. Right about now you're probably asking yourself "How can a trail running shoe with an outer sole designed like a goat's hoof help me avoid compressing my spinal cord into a Slinky on the side of some unsuspecting conifer, thereby rendering me a drooling, misshapen non-extreme-trail-running husk of my former self, forced to roam the earth in a motorized wheelchair with my name embossed on one of those cute little license plates you get at carnivals or state fairs, fastened to the back?" . . .

Who's worse? Nike, for producing the ad, or Backpacker magazine, for running it? Before the anti-PC crowd starts calling crips "thin-skinned," try substituting some racist or homophobic description in place of the "drooling, misshappen" stuff. You think Nike would try running an ad like THAT? If it's not OK to use anyone else as a bad image, how come it's OK to use a crip for one?

Here's the Nike ad as it appears in magazines. But it's a graphic -- can't be read by speech readers.

At their website, which is virtually inaccessible to anyone who doesn't own a high-speed, Java- and Shockwave-enhanced computer (and you can forget access for speech readers!), Nike has this to say about itself:


Nike. A sports and fitness company. Built by thousands of professionals. Professionals who are players, not spectators. Professionals who elevate. . . . The word itself means to improve morally. To lift up intellectually or culturally. Exhilarated in mood and feeling. At Nike, we're thinking about the big idea behind diversity. How it's based on teamwork and what we can do together instead of apart. We're moving beyond how most people view diversity by not focusing on what makes us different. But on what makes us better."

Well, you couldn't have guessed it from the ad for their Air Dri-Goat shoe.

Source: http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/