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Nike, the billionaire footwear company started in and based out of the United States, has, it would appear, basically declared allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party.
In a stunning earnings call this week, Nike CEO John Donahoe reportedly said, “We are a brand of China and for China.”
The remarks were made after he was questioned about the backlash the company has faced in China for speaking out about the CCP’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslims, according to Fox Business Network.
Last year, Nike quietly released a statement expressing concern over Uyghur Muslims being forced to pick cotton in China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang and vowing that none of their products were being produced there.
In March, the statement went viral in China, spurring massive outrage and backlash from Chinese celebrities, Chinese social media companies, Chinese e-commerce platforms, Chinese state broadcasters, and everyday Chinese people.
Chinese top idol Wang Yibo Thursday terminated contracts with @Nike.
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) March 25, 2021
This backlash against Nike wound up being a boon for Chinese footwear companies whose shares reportedly rose as Chinese consumers flocked to them.
Questioned about this backlash, Donahoe pledged his company’s commitment to being “a brand of China and for China.”
“We are the largest sport brand there, and we are a brand of China and for China. And the biggest asset we have in China is the consumer equity. Consumers feel a strong, deep connection to the NIKE, Jordan and Converse brands in China. And it’s real,” he said, according to Fox Business Network.
He wasn’t technically wrong. Despite the backlash for its statement, the company’s sales in China grew during the second quarter of 2021.
“In Greater China, sales were up just 17% at $1.93 billion. … Management said Thursday that Nike is seeing improvement in China sequentially month by month,” CNBC reported.
Likewise, the company’s earnings in the U.S. also spiked.
“In North America, Nike’s biggest market, sales more than doubled to a record $5.38 billion as the company surged from a year earlier when the Covid pandemic was hitting the retail industry the hardest. The region’s sales were up 29% on a two-year basis,” according to CNBC.
The question now is whether the backlash brewing here in the states will cause Nike any discomfort. To say that Donahoe’s veritable pledge of allegiance to China provoked anger among Americans would be an understatement.
See some of the more notable scorching responses below:
nike latches onto every social justice movement in the US. there’s no reason why they deserve to stay here benefiting from woke capital and bootlicking china. force them away or seize their profits and send a warning to other american mega corporations about loyalty. https://t.co/2hapWkQsuE
— Logan Hall (@loganclarkhall) June 25, 2021
Nike is “of China and for China.” Take it straight from the CEO’s mouth.
Nike is a pathetic Chinese lapdog that supplicates to its CCP master, while barking at America at every opportunity.
So vocal about “injustice” here, so silent about human rights atrocities in China
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) June 25, 2021
It’s easy to criticize slavery 250 years ago. It’s a lot harder to stop relying on slaves today in the Xianjiang province of China.
Instead, they lavish praise on today’s Chinese slaveholders, while continuing to chant “BLM” here at home.
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) June 25, 2021
— Dan Gainor (@dangainor) June 26, 2021
Nike CEO John Donahoe called the sportswear apparel giant a “brand of China.” So when you think about @Nike – think genocide.
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) June 25, 2021
“Nike is a brand that is of China and for China” – Nike CEO John Donahoe
If a company is openly “for” China then it’s against America.
If you love your country, don’t financially support companies who hate it.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 25, 2021
Donahoe’s stunning pledge also provoked some Americans to issue their own pledge to “never” purchase a Nike product again.
I’ll never buy Nike again
— nzrocks (@ba1anse) June 26, 2021
I change running shoes 3 or 4 times a year. I will never buy Nike again.
— Erin Maplehoff (@EMaplehoff) June 26, 2021
I’ll never buy another @Nike product. They have the best golf stuff….don’t care, never buying again.
— AmyDoubtsThis (@Ashley92784545) June 26, 2021
I’ll never buy Nike ever again, you’re traitors to America
— LiveDead (@LiveDead18) June 25, 2021
I’ll never buy Nike EVER again, I don’t care if they come back groveling and apologizing from the deepest part of their collective souls. That company is dead to me.
— TheAvidCreative (@creative_avid) June 25, 2021
It isn’t just Nike’s groveling sycophancy toward China that’s the problem. It’s also the company’s relentless attacks on the country that it’s supposed to actually represent.
In the past few years, Nike has repeatedly disrespected the United States by teaming up with America-hating sports celebrities like Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe, by essentially denouncing the iconic Betsy Ross flag and by waging political warfare against duly elected American congressmen.
It seems clear that Nike is as dedicated to trashing its own country as it is to bowing slavishly to the Chinese Communist Party. And for that, critics say, there’s simply no excuse.