One of my favorite companies over the past five years has become Adidas. Just like Nike, Adidas is a very large corporation that sells sports shoes, clothing and other related accessories. Adidas has become meaningful to me because in high school I would wear Adidas shoes when playing varsity basketball. Everyone else on the team wore Nike’s and it became a thing for everyone to make fun of my shoes. I would like to point out that I had no explanation for wearing Adidas over Nike, it just so happened to be what my mom bought me. All the talk about my shoes made them meaningful to me and my relationship with Adidas only grew as I came to college. In case you did not know, Adidas sponsors Bucknell. So, when I came to school I would always see the athletic teams wearing Adidas rather than Nike and it made me think of all the times in high school when we would talk about my shoes.
First and foremost, I thought Adidas was such a great company because of their products. I never had a problem wearing anything Adidas produced and viewed it as just as good as a company as Nike. Continuing, a lot of famous athletes are sponsored by Adidas (most notably Derrick Rose in my opinion) and this made a good impression on me. Also, I did not view them as a Nike. I knew about Nike’s scandals regarding labor conditions, but Adidas was never mentioned as a company who did things of this nature. However, after doing some research I found that Adidas is just like Nike and other companies in more ways than I am happy about. Adidas has been accused of the same labor issues as Nike and they have not done much about it. They outsource their products to Indonesia as well where the laborers are paid very low wages, work in horrible conditions and as a result cannot provide for themselves or their families. Adidas has also faced harsh criticism for their refusal to allow workers to unionize; “At one factory in Indonesia supplying Adidas 10 workers were suspended earlier this year and face losing their jobs—believed to be as a result of their union activism.” Adidas has faced much criticism about how they treat the workers in their factories and it is simply not right.
Another thing I uncovered about Adidas is a product they planned to launch in 2012. They created a “shackle shoe” and were close to putting it on the market until they faced large amounts of criticism. Rev. Jesse Jackson saw the shoe and commented by saying, “The attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our Constitution is offensive, appalling and insensitive.” When I saw pictures of the shoe I felt just as sickened as everyone else who spoke out against Adidas. For a company of this large to even consider selling a shoe of this nature is truly baffling.
In conclusion, after reading about Adidas’ worker conditions and “shackle” shoe, my opinion on them changed. I kept asking myself how Bucknell University would promote a company who has done things like this. Cornell University ended their partnership with Adidas in 2012 as a result of Adidas refusing to pay about 2 million dollars in severance pay. If other institutions ended their contracts with Adidas, why hasn’t Bucknell?