The future of Collingwood’s partnership with sporting apparel giant Nike rests heavily on the club’s ability to implement the 18 recommendations from the Do Better report that found a history of systemic racism at Collingwood.
The Magpies announced in January this year that their existing partnership with Nike had expanded into a long-term deal, with Nike joining the AFL team as an apparel partner after the Pies’ Super Netball team had teamed with Nike in 2020.
Nike is giving the Pies time to implement the report’s recommendations. Credit:Getty Images
But industry sources said the company would be watching closely to see what action followed Eddie McGuire’s departure as president on the back of the report’s findings. The club has committed to implement each of the report’s recommendations.
Nike is renowned globally for its stance on equality and race-related issues, having launched a marketing campaign in 2018 that featured NFL quarterback and social activist Colin Kaepernick with the tag “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” and an ad in response to the Black Lives Matter movement that read “Nike, For Once, Don’t Do it”.
Industry sources said the multi-national generally give its sporting partners time to respond properly to issues after they arise. The extended partnership with the Magpies is still in its infancy.
Collingwood had been keeping Nike and major sponsors such as CGU Insurance, LaTrobe Financial and Emirates Airlines abreast of their response to the report and kept up the dialogue in the wake of McGuire’s much-maligned initial media conference last Monday.
Club sources said the Magpies were aware the community would be watching their response closely and their big challenge was to secure appropriate expertise to deliver on the recommendations.
When contacted on Wednesday, Nike said it had nothing further to add to the statement it had provided to The Age last week, soon after the report became public.
“Nike stands against racism and discrimination in any form and believes in the power of sport to create an equal playing field for all. We await Collingwood’s implementation of their strategy and action plan as a result of the Do Better report.”
On Tuesday, one of the club’s major sponsors, CGU Insurance, said it would divert $1 million of sponsorship money intended for Collingwood in 2021 to programs designed to improve race relations and equity.
The signatories to Monday’s community letter signed by leading Indigenous figures calling on McGuire to resign called on the club’s sponsors, including Coles, Emirates, LaTrobe Financial and CGU Insurance to make statements rejecting racism in a “clear and unequivocal” way.
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