Saturday's violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has prompted strong responses from top execs in the sneaker world. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank denounced the event publicly on Monday, and Nike CEO Mark Parker sent a company-wide email addressing the event on Thursday night.
"Like many of you, I have spent this past week shocked and saddened by the violence and hatred we saw in Charlottesville," Parker's email reads. "The news has been incredibly difficult to see, and I know I have not been alone in feeling this way. There is no place—none—for the kind of bias, bigotry, and violence committed by white supremacists in Virginia."
The email, which Sole Collector obtained, goes on to say that Nike rejects the ideologies fueling the rally and the connected white nationalist movement.
Parker also writes briefly about Thursday's terror attack in Barcelona that left 14 dead, but the overall tone and content is more focused on Charlottesville.
Read Parker's email in its entirety below:
Like many of you, I have spent this past week shocked and saddened by the violence and hatred we saw in Charlottesville. The news has been incredibly difficult to see, and I know I have not been alone in feeling this way. There is no place—none—for the kind of bias, bigotry, and violence committed by white supremacists in Virginia. Our hearts go out to the families and everyone touched by this tragedy.
It is easy to feel lost and fearful amid the news, but in times like these I take comfort in the strength of our community. Nike has always stood up against and unequivocally rejected hatred and bigotry. We have declared time and again that Nike stands for helping all people achieve their highest potential, with a focus on equality. What happened in Charlottesville isn’t just morally shameful; it goes against everything we stand for.
We are part of a global Nike family firmly grounded in our values, including diversity and inclusion. Here at Nike, we stand together in our opposition to racism and hatred in any form. Now is an important time for us all to continue to support each other in our stance against prejudice and intolerance. We will continue to focus on being a safe and inclusive environment for our employees regardless of whatever the external environment may be. As a company, this will always be our commitment.
We are also horrified to learn of the attacks in Barcelona earlier today. I want to tell you that we are working to confirm the safety of all of our employees. We will be there for our teammates in Spain, as the Nike family deals with these horrible acts.
Through all this, I’m proud of our family and the values we share. I get to see us translate our principles into action every day. You lead by example, and you never lose sight of our shared humanity. Just over the last year, we have pledged $5 million to organizations including PeacePlayers International and MENTOR that work to make our communities a better place. Today, we continue this commitment by offering employees the opportunity to donate to organizations fighting intolerance everywhere. And when you give, Nike supports you: Every dollar you donate between now and Dec. 31, 2017, will be matched 2-for-1 through our Give Your Best platform.
In times like these, we must be there for each other. Nike is committed to supporting our teammates, our families, and our communities. The Nike United Employee Networks are always available for those of you who want to continue to engage and connect. They are an excellent resource for us all.
No matter where we live, across Nike we stand with those who work to see positive change in our world. There can be no question: Together we will oppose any form of racism or intolerance. We will not accept it, period.
Now, more than ever, we must stand by our values and support each other.
Chairman, President and CEO, NIKE, Inc.