Monday, April 26, 2010

Nike's Woman Problem

[Trigger Warning: Sexual assault]

In a surprising editorial, surprising because it's in the mainstream non-feminist Times, Timothy Egan takes Nike to task for its continued backing of Superstar Athlete Ben Roethlisberger, who three women have now accused of sexual assault. Egan writes:

"If this guy didn’t have a pair of Super Bowl Rings and a $102 million contract to entertain us on Sundays, most people would see him for what he is: a thug with a predatory sense of entitlement....

But Nike, the shoe-maker to the world, the biggest brand in the endorsement game, is standing by Roethlisberger — at least for the moment — just as they continue to back Tiger Woods after his serial infidelities....

What, exactly does it take for Nike to dump a jock? Dog-fighting will do it. After Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty to running a felony dog-fighting ring, Nike took action. 'We consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and unacceptable,' the company said at the time.

But cruelty to women is O.K...."

Before anyone comes here and informs me of this, I know: Poor Poor Ben has not been convicted of rape. Clearly, he will never be convicted as long as it is his word against any woman's. Aside from the fact that rape cases are difficult to prosecute and even more difficult to obtain a conviction, what the police report does show is that Roethlisberger had some sort of sexual contact with the accuser in a bar and that the woman later presented in the emergency room with "a cut, bruises and vaginal bleeding."

What this editorial shows is a prioritization of money over Superstars whose actions perpetuate the idea that women's most noteworthy role in society is to be fucked by Superstar men.

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