Adidas' apology for marketing an athletic shoe that is culturally insensitive and demeaning to African Americans is unacceptable. To think that this is the same company whose shoes four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, an African American, wore in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, would stoop so low as to release the shackle shoe called the JS Roundhouse Mid is mind-boggling. The company's founders, Rudolf and Adolf Dassler, must be rolling over in their graves.
Why is it that corporate America believes it can take such liberties against African Americans by the way it produces, promotes and distributes its products? Years ago, African Americans fought to change the way in which they were depicted on product labels and promotional material. Today, African Americans are the ones promoting them.
What hasn't changed is the absence of culturally sensitive African Americans in the boardrooms of these companies. African Americans represent less than 9 percent of the board members sitting on Fortune 500 companies. And, this number is declining.
One would hope that if Adidas would diversify its executive and management teams that they wouldn't fall prey to the likes of "quirky" and "lighthearted" designers who have no limits. The company would also know that an apology that includes this statement: "The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott's outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery," is absurd and ludicrous and speaks poorly of the company and its products.