Local News

Some UNC Students Protest Nike Link

Posted October 31, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Some students at UNC Chapel Hill don't want Nike's logo on the heels of their Tar Heels.

They're not happy with the athletic shoe company's tie to the university, claiming Nike is operating sweatshops in its Asian plants.

The students will voice their concerns to former basketball coach Dean Smith later today. Protests are also scheduled next week, including one during the Heels game against Florida State.

When it comes to college athletics, Nike Rules. As college sports become more visible so does the anti-Nike movement. These UNC students started protesting when the university agreed to a $7 million deal with Nike over the summer.

One student interviewed on campus said "Nike is a company that exploits labor in developing countries. For the university to support something like that, I don't think that reflects too well on the university.

Nike has been providing uniforms and shoes for some players and coaches for years. But this deal covers nearly the entire athletic department head to toe -- toes sporting some pricy shoes. The new Air Jordan will hit stores this weekend at $150 a pair.

A man at a local shopping center said a shoe is needed that average people can afford. And since he is not a college or pro player, he can't see spending so much money.

Another man said he is going to avoid buying Nike products because he does not feel Nike supports the community that buys them.

Nike brought in $650 million in profit last year, which raises an even bigger concern about colleges and amateur athletes who 'just do it' with Nike.

Students have also asked that some of the money from the school's contract be donated to Amnesty International.