During an earnings call last week, Donahoe explained that Nike had a positive long-term view of its operations in China, where it had been operating for close to four decades.
“We are the largest sport brand there, and we are a brand of China and for China,” Donahoe said. “And the biggest asset we have in China is the consumer equity. Consumers feel a strong, deep connection to the NIKE, Jordan and Converse brands in China. And it’s real.”
Donahoe’s comment came shortly after the company was ridiculed for a comment it made raising concerns about forced labor practices in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
The statement resurfaced and resulted in calls among Chinese consumers to boycott the brand after the U.S. and other Western countries responded to the forced labor allegations with sanctions. Nike was forced to reassure customers that it does not source textiles or products from the region.
Cotton said the company’s “kowtow” approach to the communist government “poses a big danger because Nike CEO is just another example of what I call ‘China lobby.’”
“All of the woke CEOs the big Hollywood move studios, the university presidents who depend on a full freight Chinese students coming to their campuses. The lobby firms in Washington. The news networks that are either owned by or affiliated with those Hollywood studios needing access to the Chinese market. They all lobby in effect on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party,” he continued.
“Let’s remember, too. These woke CEOs saddle their high horse and ride it hard in America. Talk about Nike with Colin Kaepernick, but when they get into China they kowtow before the powers that be and they never bring up anything like China’s genocide against its own people or crushing Hong Kong’s autonomy or unleashing this plague on the United States. All they care about in China is money.”
Later in the segment, Cotton called for U.S. athlete Gwen Berry to be removed from the team representing the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics this year after she turned her back to the American flag during the national anthem on Sunday.
“I don’t think it’s too much when athletes are competing…to compete under the stars and stripes in the Olympics for them to simply honor that flag and our anthem on the medal stand. If Ms. Berry is so embarrassed by America, then there is no reason she needs to compete for our country,” he said. “She should be removed from the Olympic team.”