Emma Kikulis/THE VARSITY

Nike is one of the most recognizable and most popular brand names in the world. Initially created to cater to the shoe needs of professional athletes, the brand has since branched out to incorporate more casual apparel into its product repertoire.  Now Nike’s signature swoosh is seen everywhere.

Not everyone regards the company’s growth as a positive thing, however. This past weekend students at U of T hosted a rally protesting a Nike pop-up at Varsity Stadium. The pop-up, situated next to the Goldring Centre, set up shop for three days, in conjunction with the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ (OFSAA) annual high school track and field meet, which was hosted at Varsity Stadium this year.

The Facebook description of the protest described the event as more of an information session than a full-on protest — with students handing out informative leaflets depicting the various scandals Nike has been involved in. Following a comment by a member of the protesters, that they should be careful not to wear any Nike apparel to the protest, t-shirts reading “ethical businesses please” were worn by the protesters.

The main theme of the protest seemed to be that the university should be held accountable for the businesses it allows on campus — and deemed Nike “dishonest and greedy,” and berated the company for its “unethical practices.”

These claims no doubt spring from Nike’s recent doping scandal involving some of its Nike Oregon Project athletes — including Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah and American long-distance star Galen Rupp. Nike has also been linked to the recent Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) corruption scandal; where the company allegedly paid large sums of money labeled ‘marketing fees’ in order to secure sponsorship rights with certain teams.

Not calling for a boycott of Nike, the protest urged students, athletes, coaches, and U of T alike, to demand “better practices from businesses” before we consume the company’s products or let them set up shop on our campus.

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