I would like to thank Donald Katz for the article about Nike (Triumph of the Swoosh, Aug. 16). It was one of the best written and most complete stories I have read in a long time. Unlike many, this article always answered any questions that came to mind as I read it.
As a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, I have spent countless hours researching Nike in preparation for various reports and presentations. Your article was excellent. Not only has Nike taught many business students invaluable lessons about how to compete, but, through messages that instill hope and encouragement, it also has inspired athletes and others. I hope your article has given readers an appreciation of this company and its mission.
STEVEN M. HOWELL
Nike seems to have discovered the formula for corporate success. On the surface Nike appears to be the type of company for which we all would like to work. However, I finished Katz's article troubled by many of the strategies that have helped make Nike successful. Exploitation of cheap foreign labor while abandoning the domestic labor market; enriching an already overpaid cadre of professional athletes at the expense of a voracious market of kids unable to afford high-priced sneakers; and "buying" universities and coaches for additional promotional opportunities are just a few examples.
JAMES F. LANESE
I would rather read about who is wearing the shoes than who is making them.
RICK REINERT SR.
September 19, 1993
As a high school coach for 26 years, I have told my players never to purchase athletic footwear that bears a pro athlete's name or is advertised as a shoe worn by a pro. The markup added to the price to cover the athlete's fee is sinful.
DAVID A. PESAPANE
Hey, just a teensy question: How did Phil Knight get 85 speeding tickets and manage to keep his driver's license?
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Phil who? I realize that he probably wanted to look cool, but he should have shed the shades for your cover photo.
•Here's Knight, without sunglasses.—ED.
I am disappointed with the lack of objectivity in your 20-page valentine to Nike. The advertising campaign of Made in the USA did not assert that Nike eliminated all 65,000 U.S. shoe-manufacturing jobs that your article ambiguously says we "referred to," but the campaign did point out that a trained and productive work force was available in the U.S. when Nike decided to stop producing any of its shoes in this country. To brush off criticisms of the exploitative use of foreign labor as merely a "controversy that will not go away" suggests that SI lacks the journalistic scope and integrity to address objectively the economic issues of the sports industry.
JOSEPH M. BIRKENSTOCK
Made in the USA
Chevy Chase, Md.
Suing the Coach
I commend Rick Reilly for his POINT AFTER (Aug. 30) exposing the absurdity of a player's suing a coach and his school for being benched. As a recent graduate of Rutgers, I find it embarrassing that a fellow student would do such a thing. Maybe Rutgers fans should sue Bryan Fortay for $10 million for not leading the Scarlet Knights to the upper echelon of college football. Instead, he rode the pine for some of last season and didn't live up to expectations when he did play. I think a little pocket change for each fan would be compensation for the trauma Fortay has caused by shattering our hopes.
Staten Island, N.Y.
I have worked for plaintiffs' attorneys for more than 11 years and have much respect for their expertise and ability in helping people who have been injured and wronged. However, the only one wronged in the Bryan Fortay case is the American public, which is now subjected to yet another frivolous lawsuit. Fortay and his father did not file their suit by themselves; it also took lawyers grappling for fees and publicity to file this unnecessary action and to give the public another excuse for lawyer bashing.
LINDA R. GLASSNER
Olmsted Falls, Ohio
The Monster in College Sports
As a longtime Husky fan, I was disappointed by the retirement of Washington coach Don James and the circumstances surrounding it (SCORECARD, Aug. 30). Your article had one point that hit hard: the statement that "James ultimately was guilty of losing control of the monster he helped create." James and his staff did their jobs well. The monster is that all of us put too much emphasis on college sports. James did not create this monster; it exists in every big-time program across the U.S. If his retirement put a stop to this monster, that would be one thing, hut it won't. It will go on until our society deemphasizes college sports.
PAUL M. DEVINE
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