The Invasion

Friends, let me begin by apologizing for two posts in a row. Typically I think it’s good to let some author variety get in there, but I had the time and the fury to write about this today.

Nike just released one of its new catalogs. Inside, you will find this:

At first glance, we could certainly say, “Ken, what’s the big deal? It’s just an ad.” But you might notice the hallmark piece in the middle–a giant pillar for Jesuit High School. What is Nike trying to convey here? They’re stating that Jesuit High supports them and is willing to be their advertising agent. There’s an obvious conflict here though–Jesuits do NOT condone the rampant injustice committed by Nike and their sweatshops.

The school’s mission statement is this: “Jesuit education fosters the harmonious development of the adolescent’s gifts: spiritual, religious, intellectual, physical, emotional, and aesthetic. Jesuit High School hopes to accomplish this development by demonstrating a personal concern for individuals, a special concern for the poor, an articulate wisdom, enthusiasm, and a sense of community. In so doing, the school hopes to graduate leaders who are committed to serve God and their fellow men and women. Our hope is that our students develop a profound sense of justice founded in love, i.e., leaders who are “men and women for others.”” (my highlighting)

Personally, I would say their flaunting of Nike is a blatant disregard for the poor. Worse than disregard, it’s active oppression of. Nike is invading our schools and using us to OK their oppression. When we advertise them, don’t we say, “We share values”? How can Jesuit schools continue to call themselves stewards of resources, dedicated to the oppressed and carrying forth the Gospel mission if we continue to put athletic advertisement ahead of morals? How can we call ourselves Catholic or catholic if we continue paying top-dollar to crucify Christ on the production line?

It is time for all of us to take a stand against this disgusting injustice. We need to demand the fair treatment of all people, especially workers treated in the awful manner Nike treats theirs. I am appalled at Jesuit High School in Portland. I appalled at Creighton University. Call on your school to live and practice their mission. Ditch Nike. We need to act with love and justice.

To learn more on the issue of Nike and sweatshops, please visit Team Sweat or Educating for Justice.

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