Nike Thanks Imus For Ignorance

Nike has launched itself on the higher ground of the controversy surrounding CBS Radio host Don Imus and his comments about the Rutgers University basketball team. Imus, earlier promoted by his station as the First Amendment at its best, and worst, made derogatory racist remarks about the women who had lost their game.

Nike says Thank You Ignorance

Outspoken Imus on April 4 called the Scarlet Knights “nappy-headed hos” following the team’s loss to the Tennessee Lady Vols in a NCAA national womens basketball championship game. Within the following week several sponsors of the Imus radio show were withdrawing their financial support, quick to distance themselves from such behavior. Imus was suspended on April 11 and finally dismissed on Thursday April 12.

Nike has sponsored the Rutgers’ men and women’s basketball teams for several years and felt “it was time to move the conversation forward,” according to Dean Stoyer, director of U.S. media relations for Nike. “It’s about reminding people that whether it’s racism, sexism, inequality or simply just ignorance to all of the above, that the conversation has been started, it’s been elevated and let’s keep it moving forward. Let’s not forget.”

The print ad, first published in the New York Times on Sunday April 15, has been continued online at,,,, and

Nike says Thank You Ignorance

Thank you, ignorance.
Thank you for starting the conversation.
Thank you for making an entire nation listen to the Rutgers team story.
And for making us wonder what other great stories we’ve missed.
Thank you for reminding us to think before we speak.
Thank you for showing us how strong and poised 18 and 20-year-old women can be.
Thank you for reminding us that another basketball tournament goes on in March.
Thank you for showing us that sport includes more than the time spent on the court.
Thank you for unintentionally moving women’s sport forward.
And thank you for making all of us realize that we still have a long way to go.
Next season starts 11.16.07


The Thank You Ignorance ad was created by Wieden and Kennedy, Portland, Oregon.

Filed under: Nike, Print