Nike previously defended the ads, but said it would withdraw them as quickly as possible "to underline our ongoing commitment to supporting diversity in sport and the workplace," The Oregonian reported. ...
Earlier, Nike had said the ads were "based purely upon a common insight from within the game of basketball — the athletic feat of dunking on the opposition, and is not intended to be offensive."
The Hyperdunk series of gym shoes retails for as much as $3,000.& ; The ads, reported on Rod 2.0 last week, were created by Portland's Wieden+Kennedy agency and titled "That Ain't Right," "Isn't That Cute," "Say Hello" and "Punks Jump Up." The campaign features a series of basketball players being dunked in what are supposed to be embarrassing and humiliating positions, mostly with one player's face buried in his opponent's crotch, and slogans such as "That Ain't Right", "Say Hello,& ; "Isn't That Cute", "Now You Know", and "Punks Jump Up."
The ads were not particularly offensive but could have interpreted as such. The imagery and messaging was more trash talking and sophomoric than homophobic. However, in the light of the recent outcry over the Snickers and Mr. T& ; nonsense and the Olympics on the horizon, Nike probably does not want to take any chances.
Nike has some bona fides working with gays and has been "praised by gay-rights advocates for supporting a 2007 Oregon law banning discrimination against gays in work, housing and public places."
Some Background ....
Nike's New Ads: Homophobic or Trash Talking? [R20]