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Jun 24, 1997 18:51 ET

NIKE Reaches Accord With Islamic Group - CAIR

BEAVERTON, Ore., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- NIKE (NYSE:NKE) today announced an agreement to ease Muslim concerns over the logo design on a range of summer basketball products.

"Through a long process of discussion, we have resolved our differences of opinion with the Muslim community," said Martin Coles, NIKE's Vice President, Europe, "While we never intended to offend, we did; we have done everything possible to communicate our sincere apologies and to address issues related to the distribution of any products offensive to the Muslim community."

"The potential for confusion was first identified by one of our Muslim distributors," said Coles, "We immediately affected design alterations we believed would avoid offense. Since CAIR's alert, we have worked to mitigate the impact on the Islamic community, and have made organizational changes to ensure that similar misunderstandings are not repeated.

The chronology of this event includes the following:

1. In late September, NIKE's Muslim distributor in the Middle East voiced concern over the logo appearing on salesman samples of a range of summer basketball shoes -- the script logo resembled the Arabic word "Allah."

2. In addition to raising concern over this initial logo design, their distributor also suggested a number of ways to revise the logo that would (should) be acceptable to the Muslim community.

3. A design change was immediately ordered. The original logo was dropped, and the "A" was clearly separated from the "ir" on the commercial version of the product.

4. In mid-March, NIKE received a letter from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) alerting them that samples of summer basketball shoes with the original logo had been seen in the Muslim community.

5. On March 27, CAIR indicated that commercial product with the amended logo, becoming available at retail, included a graphic design that could still "be interpreted as the Arabic word 'Allah.' CAIR demanded the following of NIKE:

 * an apology to Muslims
 * an internal investigation of how this incident occurred.
 * sensitivity training on Islam for Nike employees
 * the immediate recall of all shoes using either offensive symbol

6. Since that time, NIKE has taken the following steps to account for and resolve this issue:

7. NIKE has apologized to the Islamic community for any unintentional offense to their sensibilities.

8. NIKE has implemented a global recall of the original salesman samples, including an accounting of any samples which may have been sold.

9. NIKE has diverted shipments of the commercial products in question from "sensitive" markets. To date, over 30,000 pairs have been diverted from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey.

10. NIKE has discontinued all models with the offending logo. No further product with either version of the logo will be produced.

11. NIKE has agreed to pull back all remaining product in their distribution center.

12. NIKE has implemented organizational changes to their design department to tighten scrutiny of logo design. Responsibility has been centralized into one department and all graphic designs must now be approved by a design review board.

13. NIKE is working with CAIR to identify Muslim design resources for future reference.

14. NIKE has taken measures to raise their internal understanding of Islamic issues. Specifically:

 * Worked with CAIR to identify reference materials to locate in their
 Design Library
 * Scheduled a discussion on Islamic imagery at their next Design
 * Centralize the graphic design process to ensure those with
 familiarity in Islamic issues evaluate all graphic designs
 * Conducted a formal investigation into this issue, and CAIR is
 satisfied that no deliberate offense to the Islamic community was

"I am glad we were able to come to a mutually acceptable understanding," said Coles, "I believe that we emerge from this process with a deeper understanding of Islamic sensibilities and a stronger bridge into Muslim communities."

-0- 06/24/97

Source: NIKE Inc.

CONTACT: Roy Agostino of NIKE, Inc., 503-671-2546

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