950 Dawson County signers on petition to remove Nike uniforms
PHOTO BY DENISE RAY
A local woman created a petition asking the county to sever business ties with Nike, the company behind the Dawson County High School football team uniforms and gear.
Created by Rachael Goodman on July 9, the petition since gathered over 950 signatures. It is addressed to Superintendent Damon Gibbs, the Board of Education and the county’s football coaches including Head Football Coach Sid Maxwell and asks the county to consider purchasing uniforms and other equipment for the Tigers from any other company but Nike as the company has “made it clear that they do not have respect for our nation’s flag, history or veterans.”
The Nike Air Max 1 USA was unveiled last month in time for Independence Day. Featuring an early American flag, which has also been referred to as the Betsy Ross flag, the shoe was pulled before going on sale after Nike endorser Colin Kaepernick told the company he—and others—found the shoe design offensive. The former NFL player took offense to the flag’s alleged connection to slavery.
“As a proud resident of Dawson County, I do not believe that Nike and Mr. Kaepernick’s views represent the majority of people in our community,” the petition reads. “Dawsonville honors, respects and appreciates our many veterans in this county and nation.”
The petition states that the signers ask that their money no longer be used to support this “anti-American company” and that the school system find another vendor to supply uniforms and equipment.
“I believe we are a county that honors and respects our great Country, as well as our veterans, and I feel like giving thousands of dollars every year to a company that discontinued the production of a shoe because its spokesperson found the American flag offensive, does not reflect the overall majority of our patriotic community,” Goodman said in her social media post requesting for support of the petition.
Goodman updated her social media post stating she had met with Maxwell on July 12 to discuss the issue.
Goodman plans to request meetings with each of the athletic divisions and request they not place any more orders with Nike. She also plans to ask for an audience with the School Board to present them with the every-growing petition.
“The Board of Education has no policy in place that restricts or encourages the purchase of athletic attire,” said Gibbs. “The purchasing guidelines that we have in place are focused more on the procedures that need to be followed when utilizing school funds. The decision about whether or not to purchase a specific brand of attire would be at the discretion of the school or booster club.”
The majority of the items in question have already been purchased for the fall athletic season, Gibbs said.
“I would encourage anyone wanting to help make the decision for future purchases to work with the school and booster clubs,” he said.
Dawson County High School Athletic Director Jason Gibson had no comment at press time.