Uniforms fail ethics grade

Image by: Emily Sicilia

Queen’s athletes’ new uniforms are no longer made by Russell Athletic, the Journal reported Sept. 12. As of September 2008, they’re supplied by adidas.

In 2005 Russell Athletic came under attack by many for allegedly mistreating employees at Hermosa Factory in El Salvador, where some of its products were manufactured.

Queen’s No Sweat group has repeatedly lobbied the University to scrutinize where its athletic apparel comes from.

No Sweat Co-Director Jonathan Adamo said adidas also outsourced some of its clothing to Hermosa before the factory closed in 2005.

Adidas also allegedly didn’t pay 10,500 Indonesian workers it laid off in a factory in November 2006.

It’s disappointing that the University didn’t consider ethical purchasing a priority in negotiating its new contract.

Last year, the No Sweat campaign spoke to Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker about signing with the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), to ensure Queen’s apparel was made under ethical circumstances.

Although the University seemed unprepared to agree to the DSP, the campaign put the issue of ethical purchasing on the Queen’s radar.

It’s a step backwards to continue using a brand associated with questionable ethics.

The athletics department has undergone sweeping changes—including dropping the ‘golden’ from the Gaels’ official name—in the past few months purportedly to reach out to more students.

It’s surprising and disappointing that part of the effort didn’t include consulting students before reaching an agreement with adidas.

Some athletes received e-mails asking what they wanted in their uniforms but none had any say in which brand the University would use. The No Sweat campaign wasn’t consulted either, Co-Director Stephanie Simoes said.

The Athletics department was in need of a uniform overhaul. The new uniforms give the Gaels a unified front and, therefore, might create a stronger image for other schools’ teams.

But if adidas’ name is going to be sprawled across the front of the uniforms, one might also worry about the University’s ethical image.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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