24. June 2011
Shoe and athletic apparel giant Nike is once again on the limelight, after the company is accused by anti-drug advocates of promoting drug use with the release of its recent shirts bearing the phrases “Dope,” “Get High” and “Ride Pipe.”
The anti-drug advocates already written Nike to immediately pull-out the seemingly drug promoting shirts. According to reports, Boston city mayor Thomas Menino had joined the call for the removal of the shirts as he sent a letter to the general manager of a Niketown store in a popular shopping district in Boston after he saw the shirts in the store window.
Menino already asked the store to take down the shirts, saying the company failed to take drug abuse seriously. “Your window display of T-shirts with drug and profanity wordplay are out of keeping with the character of Boston’s Back Bay, our entire city and our aspirations for our young people not to mention common sense,” Menino said in the letter.
Nike for its part denied accusations they are promoting drug use with their newest shirts saying the terms are part of the lingo used by the skaters, snowboarders and participants in other extreme sports it’s trying to target with the shirts. It was learned that the Nike shirts became available last June 1 in conjunction with the launch of an action sports campaign.
The “Dope” shirt shows the image of a pill bottle upended with surfboards and skateboards pouring out. Not all the shirts have controversial terms. Other shirts include the phrases “F Gravity” and “Get Wet.”The shoe company defended that the new shirts promote sports not illegal drug use.
“Sport is an antidote to drugs,” Nike spokeswoman Erin Dobson said in a statement. “There is no better adrenalin rush than catching a wave or landing a trick,” Dobson added. Dobson explained the language is the same that skaters, BMX’er’s and surfers use every day around the world.
Nike is not new to controversy, in 2008 the company’s “Air Stab” line of shoes was pulled out in London after a spate of knife deaths around that time. The company also had a series of ads for its Hyperdunk shoes that included images and slogans that some critics considered anti-gay.
Nike supported the campaign at first but later withdrew the ads. Moreover, the anti-drug crusaders advised Nike to just stick to its signature slogan “Just Do It” instead of the seemingly anti-drug phrases.