Nike forced to remove web advert
Nike advertisement removed from Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius's website yesterday
It was, to say the least, a most unfortunate advert at the top of the official website of Oscar Pistorius that greeted visitors yesterday: “I am the bullet in the chamber. . . Just do it,” it read, alongside the Nike logo and an image of the South African running.
“Dear #Nike, change Oscar website scrolling header pic NOW,” read one of the many gentle prompts to the company on Twitter once news broke that the Olympian was facing a murder charge after his girlfriend was shot and killed at his Pretoria home.
Soon after, the advert, which is about two years old, was gone, so was another Nike effort that had this caption alongside another image of Pistorius: “I was born without bones below the knee. I only stand 5ft 2. But this is the body I have been given. This is my weapon. How I conquer. How I wage my war. This is how I have broken the world record 49 times. How I become the fastest thing on no legs. This is my weapon. This is how I fight.”
The company, you’d imagine, might be reviewing its use of the language of weapons and war for future campaigns.
While they can argue, not unreasonably, that the vast majority of the sportsmen and women they sponsor stay out of “trouble”, they’ve had more than their fair share of difficulties over the years with high-profile names – among them Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Michael Vick.
They stood by basketball star Bryant when he was accused of sexual assault in 2003, charges that were eventually dropped, and after breaking with footballer Michael Vick, following his 2007 conviction for involvement in a dog-fighting ring, rehired him in 2011.
They stuck with Tiger Woods, too, but finally gave up the ghost on Armstrong last October after conceding there was “seemingly insurmountable” evidence that he was, indeed, a cheat.
They’ve had their challenges, then, although none quite of the magnitude of the Pistorius case.