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Update: September 25, 2018
Nike is rejecting the inclusion of co-founder Phil Knight’s political contributions in a report from the Center for Responsive Politics.
“Nike’s Political Action Committee helps employees support candidates who understand our business and whose values and goals align with our mission of serving athletes,” a Nike spokesperson said in a statement to Yahoo Sports. “Contributions from the Nike PAC are entirely separate from personal contributions made by individuals, including Mr. Knight who retired as an employee of Nike in 2006.
“Using the data posted by Open Secrets, the Nike PAC has contributed $88,700 during the 2018 political cycle to Democrats and $79,400 to Republicans. This is consistent with our history as a non-partisan company that engages on a range of issues including tax, trade, sustainability and digital developments.”
Knight officially retired from the company board in 2016 and now serves as Chairman Emeritus. The CRP report also includes personal contributions from Nike employees, which the company does not track in accordance with election laws.
Original Story: September 23, 2018
There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between Nike’s branding and the sporting goods giant’s political leanings.
While Nike has caught heat from right-leaning supporters for its decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in the company’s latest ad campaign, a new report from the Center for Responsive Politics — a non-profit, non-partisan research group focusing on money in politics — shows that Nike employees through its political action committee have donated more than three times as much money to Republican candidates as Democratic challengers for the 2018 election season.
In all, Nike has given $424,000 to the GOP compared to $122,000 to Democrats. The findings follow a recent trend showing Nike has donated more to Republicans than Democrats in every election cycle since 2010 with the exception of 2016.
Following the money
According to the report, nearly half of all donated funds have come from co-founder Phil Knight and his family.
The Knight family has also given $1.5 million to Republican Knute Buehler in his race for Oregon governor against incumbent Democrat Kate Brown. The contribution is the largest individual donation to an Oregon candidate since the state started electronically tracking such dealings in 2006.
Nike World Headquarters are located in Beaverton, Oregon.
Among Buehler’s platforms are lower corporate taxes and repealing Oregon’s sanctuary state laws for undocumented immigrants.
Compared to its rival companies, Nike has donated far more to politicians than it’s competitors. Both Nike and New Balance have each given more than $1.2 million to Republican candidates since 2010, however, Nike has also donated more than $900,000 to Democrats over that same time span. By comparison, Adidas and Under Armour have donated less than $600,000 combined to both parties since 2010.
Nike’s stock continues to skyrocket after Kaepernick ad
Whatever blowback Nike received following the unveiling on the ad campaign with Kaepernick, it hasn’t done nearly anything to slow down the company’s growth. Nike’s stock recently hit an all-time high and has gone up nearly five percent since the Kaepernick ads launched in early September. That translates to an additional $6 billion in market value, per CBS News.
On the year, Nike is up 36 percent and is performing better than any other company listed on Dow’s index of 30 blue-chip stocks.
Kaepernick is currently signed on a long-term deal with Nike that pays him millions each year and is on par with contracts for other star NFL players.
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