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Nike CEO Mark Parker Speaks on Betsy Ross Air Max Controversy

Date: September 10 2019

By: Marfell

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Fresh from winning Fast Company’s 2019 Design Company of the Year award, Nike CEO Mark Parker joined the magazine to talk about Beaverton’s business.

Amid revenue projections and product design, Mark Parker also spoke about the ‘Betsy Ross’ Nike Air Max 1, a sneaker that was cancelled after athletes told Nike its allusions to slave-era America were offensive. When questioned on the social consequences of product, Parker noted that they were important, especially in the age of social media. ‘It’s a more sensitive environment. So there are occasions when we’ve decided to pull our product and services from the market. The decision [regarding] that Air Max product was based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the Fourth of July holiday. That’s the reason we pulled it, not to create a source of polarisation. We make those decisions, sometimes. They’re rare, but it does happen. We’re trying not to offend.’

Parker also commented on company values that have seen Nike side with Colin Kaepernick and Serena Williams, saying that Nike supports the views of their athletes and employees, and that criticism is ‘not a reason not to have a voice. It’s important for me personally, but also for the company, to stand for some values. We don’t shy away from that.’

Read the full interview with Fast Company here.

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