Ragged Edge Online



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

Crip community pursues Nike

Disability attorney Fred Shotz wants Nike to fund a "sophisticated pro-ADA ad campaign" to undo the damage. Read his proposal
How you can be involved.

Nike issues formal apology

Nike's first attempt at a formal apology still didn't get it, and irritated disabled people even more. 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" signalled that the company didn't really understand crip culture.

They reworked their apology; next they noted that "Disabilities in any form are no laughing matter. (Maybe they should start watching John Callahan's 8th-grader, Pelswick Eggert.)

But they've kept on trying, and more recent versions of the apology have been better. You can read the most recent version at http://www.nikebiz.com/media/n_drigoat.shtml

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.


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