Pro athletes live for what they do. Literally their dedication to the sports that they play is insane and some would say that one perk of this is getting endorsed by cool brands such as Nike. As someone who loves to follow athletics and athletes’ performance I decided to create a dialogue between Tiger Woods and someone who has just heard the news about the Nike factories (Sam). How would Woods react? I think that it is safe to say that golf is a game where honesty plays a huge role. Although this may raise controversy about Woods because of the terrible thing he did (cheating on his wife) I would like to think that he has learned from his mistakes and would be somewhat sincere about the factory coniditions..that is once he became aware of them.
Sam: Mr. Woods-first off I would like to say it’s an honor to meet you. I have always followed your performance, especially when my dad and I have spent countless afternoons watching the Masters. I found it especially exciting to follow your outfit choices this past summer, which never failed to pop some colors. I would like to ask you what is your initial reaction when you hear the brand Nike?
Woods: Well Sam, thanks for following my performance it never fails to inspire me to keep working hard when people like you tell me that you’re continuing to support me. I would say my initial reaction is that Nike is a company that is striving to enhance performance for athletes by providing them with the latest athletic technology.
Sam: So, would you say only positive thoughts?
Woods: Of course, Nike has never failed to endorse me in a positive way by treating me well and making me proud to wear their gear.
Sam: Do you know anything about their manufacturing?
Woods: Well I know that Nike outsources their manufacturing
Sam: Is that something that is concerning to you?
Woods: No, not really I think as long as Nike continues to produce high quality products for their customers there is no harm in it. Many companies these days outsource.
Sam: What if you found out that employees were being exploited and treated very poorly?
Woods: I would honestly be shocked because from my experiences with Nike I have always gotten the impression that they were a very professional and honest company.
Sam: Well unfortunately its true and by having celebrities and athletes like you wear their gear they are able to get away with it. Yes, they may be saving money by outsourcing and in return using famous public figures like yourself to advertise for them, but ethically its very wrong. I am curious if this changes your answer to the first question I asked you?
Woods: Well to be honest I am a little embarrassed that I was unaware of this. On a personal level I feel ashamed that I was unaware of such things when in reality I should know all there is to know about Nike, considering how big of a part they play in my game and in my life. If this is all true it still doesn’t change my reaction to the initial question. I still think that they are “a company that is striving to enhance performance for athletes by providing them with the latest athletic technology” but my view on them as an honest company changes, which in my opinion is more important than anything else. I think that it is my (and other athletes that are endorsed) responsibility to address this and if it is not resolved as unfortunate as it is I don’t think I would be willing to end a contract with Nike. They have done so much for me and I feel have created a really positive image for me through thick and thin.
Sam: Thank you for your time and I really hope you consider how much Nike takes their shareholders into consideration when making decisions. No offense Tiger I love you and you’re great, but I cant say I would be as proud to wear my swoosh after finding this out and it may end up hurting your personal image as well.
I wanted to point out an issue with our society and many famous people that we look up to. In my opinion famous people get away with way too much. I honestly don’t think that Tiger would not be willing to drop Nike if he found this out or even worse things. The media may blow up for a little and ridicule him, but in reality he’ll win a Masters and with this win everyone’s heart back. This makes me question what we have to do as a society to not accept this kind of behavior and not let companies like Nike get away with such exploitation of their employees. Perhaps this ties into our discussion about sustainability. If we take a step back and don’t try to dominate every aspect of nature maybe well be able to make more just decisions about people’s actions and more importantly maybe companies and organizations will act more justly from the start.