With the recent announcement that the University of Wisconsin will end its Nike apparel agreement after the Oregon-based company ignored repeated requests to address claims of unpaid severance to workers, we’d like to take this space to say:

Nike…

We are more prone to be inquisitive to promote discussion (instead of simply lambasting you for breach of contract and general slimy work practices)…

We want to find out what your thinking was (as you continually dismissed our attempts to resolve the situation)…

We want to find out what your feelings are (especially toward the 1,200 Honduran workers who could probably use some of the money they’ve earned)…

And did you learn anything?

We admit that without the grainy audio and the black-and-white blank stare of Phil Knight, some of this gets lost in translation. But dropping the Nike contract is a watershed moment for both UW and universities at large, as Wisconsin is the first American university to terminate a licensing contract with the company.

But it shouldn’t have taken 120 days of silence to finally reach this point. Simply put, when Nike shut down those Honduras factories and denied severance pay to workers, it violated the contract between itself and the university. Add in that the contract only generated $49,000 for UW last year — a number comparable to what Rec Sports spent on its NatUP campaign — and this feels like a relatively easy break-up.

Of course, when you’re dealing with cake baking, test writing sensationalists like Student Labor Action Coalition, nothing’s that easy. Between old scrutiny like New Era (dropped), Russell (dropped, but picked back up after the company amended its shortcomings) and the past discussions surrounding the university’s Adidas contract, there is no shortage of labor rally cries. However, the differences between the adidas and Nike situations are great enough for the university to justify the removal of Nike while continuing to work with adidas.

First, unlike the adidas controversy, the issues surrounding Nike’s Honduran factories occurred while UW was in contract with the company (adidas, conversely, was being asked to re-pay money that was unfairly embezzled by contracted company heads years after the fact). Also, the money allegedly owed by adidas is significantly less than the over $2 million Nike is said to have withheld.

So adi?s, Nike. Good luck rebuilding the image of a world-class golfer with a more than passing interest in golden showers. And here’s to hoping that other like-minded institutions, such as Georgetown and that other UW (University of Washington) follow Wisconsin’s lead and treat you with the same disrespect that you gave to our inquiries and your workers. You can always bank on those Robbie Hummel jerseys.

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