Busted Halo
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February 5th, 2012

Is A College Athlete Bound to Wear the Nike Swoosh?

 
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Q: I’m a college basketball player. Am I bound to wear the Nike swoosh on my jersey and wear their sneakers if I have a problem with their human rights record? The school has an exclusive deal with them.

To answer your immediate question, look closely at the terms of your agreement with the school. You are probably required to wear your official team gear when you play or travel in representation of the college. Talk with a coach or counselor to find out if there is a conscience exception. If there isn’t, draft one and submit it to the appropriate campus official. To address your larger question, recognize that as a leader on your campus, you have an opportunity to use your status to work for change. Tell everyone that you want to be proud not only to wear your school colors but also the logo of the equipment supplier. Enlist the support of your teammates and other classmates. Inform yourself about the specific concerns that you would like to raise with administrators. Seek advice from a group such as United Students Against Sweatshops. And then take the action that is within your reach.

 
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The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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