Nike is under fire after an anonymous Instagram account called @blackatnike surfaced last month, highlighting stories of discrimination for the purpose of “amplifying Black voices from current and former Nike employees.”
The now-deactivated Instagram account featured dozens of anonymous claims from current and former black and brown employees at the company ranging from code words for Black shoppers in Nike stores to Black employees being overlooked for promotions in favor of whites.
“I trained every coach in my store, and when a new role opened up, I wasn’t even considered for the promotion. When I asked why, I was told I ‘wasn’t ready,’ but not given any real feedback on my performance. They hired a white woman instead. Who had to train her? Me.”
Another anonymous submission claims that management acted nonchalantly towards the murder of George Floyd.
“The Monday after George Floyd’s murder, we have a meeting of 50-plus employees to discuss the upcoming events for the week. The Director leading the session started with, ‘Let’s not waste time on anything irrelevant,’ and then proceeded—business as usual.”
One other submission spoke about uncomfortable comments surrounding her natural hair.
“Whenever I would wear my hair curly, my coworkers would always tell me I looked “so exotic.”
After the abrupt disappearance of the account this week, a spokesperson for Nike claims that the company has “no knowledge of who owns the accounts or why they were taken down.”
In a statement, the Nike claims that discrimination is not tolerated anywhere in the company.
“Everyone is responsible for adhering to Nike’s Matter of Respect policy, which explicitly prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race. If there are behaviors that violate this, employees have a number of ways to flag and ensure that the behaviors don’t go unchecked. This includes raising the issue with managers, or if employees prefer, they can use the Speak Up portal, or speak directly with HR, HR Director Employee Relations. Employees can do so anonymously if they choose. We urge every employee to speak up if an employee experiences something that does not align with Nike’s values and policies.”
As far as their hiring process for people of color, the sporting company said that it’s “diversity sourcing and recruitment programs have had a strong impact, as we continually increase our connectivity and exposure to new partners and organizations in the market.”