Menino Suggests Niketown Could Face Protests Over T-Shirts

BOSTON (CBS) – The battle between Mayor Tom Menino and Niketown could be heating up soon.

Menino told reporters Wednesday he is none too pleased with Nike’s response, or lack of response, to his concerns over the controversial T-shirts on display in the Newbury Street store.

The shirts have the expressions “Dope,” “Get High,” and “F**k Gravity” on them.

Menino believes they promote drug use and he wrote a letter to the store’s general manager, asking her to take the display down.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports.

Nike issued a statement Tuesday, saying “it does not condone the use of banned or illegal substances.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

But there has been no response to Menino’s letter or request.

The mayor acknowledged that he can’t force Nike to remove the T-shirt display, but he thinks community protestors might.

“I’ve got a lot of calls in the last 24 hours from different community groups who want to go over there and protest and talk to the ownership over there, because it’s wrong. We’re setting the wrong precedent for our young people.”

More from Carl Stevens
  • massman

    The mayor is wrong on this issue. He is getting involved in something he doesn’t understand. And he’s starting to look foolish.

    • Italo

      And that is also because he is a major egomaniac. His way or no way. I never used drugs and didn’t try or want to use them all of a sudden growing up just because/if there was an ad on TV or in a magazine, or peers were talking about or trying to use them around us. There was discipline, and I don’t mean having to do with hitting. There were lessons and structure in kids’ lives. Our society has to stop playing Victim and blaming every bad kid on some armtwisting caused by a store window display, or each stroke being the result of a fast-food enthusiast being kidnapped and forced to eat french fries at a McDonald’s. Enough.

    • PB87

      “Starting” to look foolish? Where you been?

  • Andrew

    We have a very real drug abuse problem in this city, particularly with painkillers in Southie and Dorchester. Why is the mayor focused on T-shirts in a store where most of the kids from the neighborhood can’t afford to shop? There is a hole where Filene’s used to be in Downtown Crossing. Anchor stores are leaving. What is the Urban Mechanic doing about these issues?

  • Chris K.

    Menino needs to relax. Its 2011 and he needs to wake up this year. First he needs to learn how to speak english properly. Its called advertising. If you dont like waht is on display than dont look at it. If Nike gives in on this issue, than they are weak company.

    Just my two cents

  • R Scott

    I think Nike should put a picture of Menino on the DOPE t-shirt…. or make one with his likeness and change the word to DUMB.

  • Glenn

    The one thing that Menino does not realize is that he is probably making NIke a good chuck of change on this, due to all the attention this is getting. I am sure many young people are flocking to the store buying these shirts up. In fact this was probably what Nike was aimig for when they displayed these shirts in the window. Knowing that complaints would get the attention of the news media.

  • cj

    Tom Menino is a doddering old fool.

    Someone, just give him a glass of warm milk and put him to bed.

  • Shelmer

    He’s a mumbling tool and I dont understand how this guy gets re-elected every year!!!!! And people in the Boston area(my home town) need to stop being so uptight.

  • ksull

    The mayor is 100% right, and will overwhelmingly succeed, as he should. Just follow the Attorney Generals method that brought down the craigslist’s sites that promoted prostitution and money laundering. Nike, with their billions and marketing reach, and prime street level window view is expressly promoting drug use and is guilty as charged. Case over. Not all speech is protected under First Amendment.

    • roudydowdy

      You can’t falsely yell FIRE in a crowded theater because that could cause harm to people. All other speech is protected. It’s a matter of interpretation as to what the words on the shirts mean. Case not over. Grow up. You live in a free country where people can say whatever they want to say.

  • Rick M

    You know something to a basket ball player the term Get High means to jump high this is the intent that Nike had when they propped this shirt . I wish we could see this much attention and Mayor, or even higher Government personnel intervention to the under aged sweat shops they make the shirts in. No we don’t see that so it isn’t happening right? So Menino are you going to take down all the signs that say “HIGH STREET” > How about “Highland Ave” or ‘Dead End” I’m sure that offends someone seeing the word “Dead”. Better take them down they are offending me!!!!

    • Mark S

      That’s total BS. Have you seen the shirts? When I first heard this story I thought it might be a misunderstanding, until I actually saw the shirts. The “Dope” shirt has the word “Dope” over a pill bottle with pills falling out. What Basketball term is this referring to? Nike knows there are a bunch of high schoolers out there who love to flaunt drug use and will buy these shirts…that’s the intention…plain and simple.

      • Concerned

        Lisa V., you are saying that people like me look ridiculous? You didn’t respond to my message. Would you allow your child’s teacher to wear that because “it encourages a positive message?” You’re also assuming that the children who see this and may wear this understand metaphors and yet are too stupid to understand that PROFESSIONAL athletes who are role models to these same kids are DOPING themselves with PILLS, not surfboards or footballs. Have you turned on a television in the last decade? It’s no secret that many of the athletes at the top of the game do drugs, and it is no secret to children either. I guess you don’t know kids very well if you think they will just simply see “Oh, I can be HIGH on sports. Yay!” You need to open your eyes.

      • Lisa Valente

        Those are NOT pills falling from the prescription bottle. They are surfboards, skateboards, baseball bats, footballs, and other pieces of sporting equipment. The motto is “prescription for serious action” and the whole thing is a metaphor for sports addicfion and getting an athletic high from adrenaline, endorphins, and winning. You people need to think before you set out on your ridiculous and uninformed with hunts. You look and sound really dumb. If anything, this encourages a positive message. Get high on sports.

      • Rick M

        It’s not total BS’ the shirt I saw said nothing about Dope no pills nothing of the sort It said plain and simple “Get High” Nike has always been associated with the likes of “Get Air” or Big Air or” Nike’s Air Jordan’s” Get high as far as I’m concerned it means to grab some big air, not a big Blunt. I guess it all boils down to your mind set. So Mark S if the “Dope” shirt you say exists had a red circle with a line diagonal threw the middle would it be acceptable for you then? then some one would step up and say pills are so dope its a never ending controversy that Menino took down hook line and sinker. Someone give that advertising agent his money he deserves it for this one

      • Concerned

        I agree with you Mark! I know that will get me angry liberal responses about how I need to get a life or something, but it is total BS.

        Rick, you obviously didn’t bother to take the 2 minutes to find the Dope shirt.,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-403882/pgid-403883 Here it is. And let me ask you all this, if kids aren’t impressionable and we live in a world with free speech means you can say ANYTHING you want, then let me know how you feel when your child’s teacher wears that shirt to work or your kid’s hero wears that shirt. If what we see everyone wearing doesn’t matter, if the words don’t matter, then why don’t we start writing whatever we want regardless if it is racist, sexist, or is profanity. Why bother censoring our mouths in public or on TV… or tv ads. Whether or not you agree with me, we do draw lines in this world of what we deem acceptable, and I am with Menino that the “Dope” shirt is crossing the line. The rest of you are just hypocrites.

  • NatalieB

    Pathetic! It is an embarrassment that this buffoon is our Mayor. Obviously attacking a corporation like Nike is an easy target since this Mayor has done so little to make Boston a better city. The city is filthy, property taxes are through the roof, we are losing population, and the schools are abysmal for starters. Any yet, this moron spends his time attacking a private company! Why did we do to deserve this?

  • Robin Langlois

    you’re really comparing t-shirts to craigs list prostitution??? I’m pretty sure that was done in light of the Craigslist Killer, not because it was an epiphany someone had.

  • eddwal50

    dear mayor mumbles issue cans of black paint,brushes and rollers let community activist paint over the windows but send cops to doughboy donuts in southie 1st

  • wonderyears

    go back to sleep Corky

  • Matt Souza

    get high does not all ways mean get high in the since of getting drugs. What is he going to do with half of the champion teams that we have football , baseball and hockey nickey = sports what do u think

  • nike-geek

    anyone notice the pill bottle on the DOPE shirt is spilling out skate boards an athletic equipment…. Does anyone understand metaphors anymore?

    • Concerned

      The issue is not ADULTS like you looking at it. It’s the issue that impressionable children who don’t understand metaphors will make the “giant” leap from a DOPE shirt with pill like sports equipment to drugs that kids are offering them AT SCHOOL. Yeah, you’re right it’s no big deal. It’s just people being ignorant.

  • Del Sanford

    Menino is getting played by Nike and boosting sales and interest in the company. word meanings and interpretations change but I guess Menino is too old to keep up. After someone teaches him the true meaning of the ad he is going to hold his hand out for royalties.

  • bikdav

    I had to look at that somewhat carefully at first. But, when I saw what is really going on here, I feel that Mayor Menino is going off the deep end. this isn’t the first time that he’s done stuff like this and i feel that it is time for him to be replaced.

  • Chris

    I think the Mayor has dug himself a hole for this whole stance…

    Yes… The Get high shirt has a bottle, and its got what appears to be Pills… But the Reality is that these items are NOT pills, and they are in fact surfboards, Skiboards, and other Adrenaline focused sports… If you go to the Nike Store using the link above to the picture, and zoom in on the picture and read the small print on the side of the pill bottle it is all fun wording on the Extreme sports side of life.. Life of which Mayor Menino, and other OLD people are not going to understand… There’s even a Zombie attack reference in the wording of the bottle contents… This is only 1 of the shirts that was complained about, BUT.. even still.. he complained about it… there is nothing wrong with this shirt, and its meaning is less vulgar than the “Twin Sisters” type shirts being sold around the city in honor of the Sedin Twins from the Vancouver Canucks… BUT… Since the B’s won the cup, i guess the Mayor will let that slide..

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