The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 78 — It's time to be better
Sexual harassment at the workplace must stop
|Mike D. Sykes, II||Jul 20|
Good morning, folks. Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you for spending a bit of your Monday morning with me. I hope your weekend was excellent and I hope your upcoming week is even better.
Let’s get right to it.
Listen to women now and forever
Just before the weekend began, the Washington Post released a report detailing sexual harassment claims from 15 former employees for the Washington football team against team staff and management.
The details were absolutely horrifying.
The stories told involved everything from inappropriate comments to women on staff to inappropriately touching reporters, gross and invasive text messages sent out and even peeping through a stairwell.
That only just begins to describe the toxic work environment women in and around that organization were subjected to.
One reporter, The Athletic’s Rhiannon Walker, detailed exactly what happened to her and what she had to go through because of it. You need to read this today.
Reading this piece, alone, was infuriating. But then, actually seeing the discourse online that came after it made it even worse.
People just brushed these women and their stories aside. Instead of talking about how horrible this was, their initial reactions were “is this it?” or “this won’t get the owner to sell the team.” It felt like an effort to flip these traumatic experiences into some personal gain or self-satisfaction.
People don’t take these stories seriously. Instead, they just gloss over them. No one takes a stand. Which is why ESPN’s Elle Duncan’s impassioned plea to men everywhere hits so hard.
“This is where I ask for allyship from our brothers. If this was a situation involving racism the men on that field would take a stand and they would…use their power. But it’s women. That’s how you affect change. It’s 53 dudes on that roster saying, ‘I won’t play for this man.’ Because, you’re standing up for women. And no one will do it. Nobody stands up for women.”
She’s absolutely right. In a moment where men need to stand with women the most, all some people could think about was how this would impact their favorite football team.
In our society, unfortunately, this is the norm. It’s not an isolated problem. This isn’t just a problem unique to that team. This isn’t just a football problem. We can look across industries in and outside of sports. The treatment of women is consistently awful.
This is a sneaker newsletter, so let’s talk sneakers for a second.
We saw a similar story in 2018 about the boy’s club culture at Nike’s after current and former female employees came forward with stories about sexual harassment.
Around the same time, a similar story unfurled about Under Armour and the company’s hostile history with women throughout the office.
This is what women expect and anticipate. By the way, this isn’t just a work thing. This happens everywhere, every single day. A 2018 survey found that 38% of women say they’ve experienced workplace sexual harassment and 66% say they’ve experienced it in public spaces.
A staggering 81% of women surveyed said they’ve experienced sexual harassment at some point in their lifetime.
This is a crisis, plain and simple. The math says chances are you know someone this has happened to. That should upset you to no end, knowing that someone you care about has gone through this.
The thing about that, though, is you don’t need to know a woman this has happened to in order to care about it. You don’t have to have a mom or a daughter or a sister or a wife to care. Just care anyway. People are being violated. That’s more than enough reason to take action.
Right now, for so many people, it doesn’t seem to be. And that’s a problem. Specifically, it’s our problem as men.
How does it get solved? Start by listening. Start by believing. Start by prioritizing. Check your dudes. Check yourself. Then we can finally get this thing rolling.
Employees are putting their lives at risk just to keep bottom lines steady for every business opened across the country amid this global pandemic.
The very least these companies can do is give them some protection and assurances by taking every single precaution in the book to make sure they are healthy and safe. They owe them that.
That’s why it’s so confusing to see Foot Locker not requiring customers to wear masks as they shop in open stores around the country.
CEO Dick Johnson explained the decision to the Financial Times.
Johnson said masks “have become a political issue, not a health issue” and that he is not willing to put his employees “at risk” by having them enforcing a mask policy.
He later clarified to Footwear News that, while they won’t enforce a mask policy at Foot Locker, they will have signage “recommending” customers wear masks when coming into the store.
Johnson’s decision is odd. At a time where stores are finally beginning to explicitly require masks and enforce mask on policies for the safety of their customers, Johnson is calling masks a “political issue.”
He says he doesn’t want to put his employees at risk by having them enforce a mask policy, but at the same time he’s allowing customers who could potentially be carrying the virus to wander around stores maskless?
Make it make sense. That is the textbook definition of putting his employees at risk. And it’s totally irresponsible.
Masks are not a political issue. They’re a health precaution. They work. They’re part of the reason we’ve made the little progress we have in dealing with the virus as a country. They’ll be the reason we advance more.
All everyone has to do is put it on if they’re going outside. Clearly, Johnson knows that. Because he’s requiring his own employees to wear masks while in stores. So, his employees have to mask up but his customers don’t?
Again, fam, make it make sense.
MOAR SPACE HIPPIE
Just last week we talked about how the next step for the Space Hippie was seeing the recyclable materials used in the more common sneaker designs we’re used to.
So far, we’ve seen it used in the Jordan 1 and the Dunk. Now, it’s hitting the Chuck Taylor in three different colorways.
Here’s a look at the main one:
This is exactly what we talked about last week ahead of the Space Hippie’s second drop. Including the materials in hyped kicks generated a much needed buzz around sustainable footwear.
But to maximize its potential, it needed to be included in shoes we commonly wear. The Jordan and the Dunk are great, but they’re both hyped.
The Chuck Taylor? That’s as common as it gets. And that’s exactly where these materials need to be.
We have no hope, y’all
Last week, I was ecstatic. I knew this weeks drops were going to be crazy. The Grateful Dead Yellow SB Dunks are coming this week.
I know what you’re thinking. “Mike! It’s a SNKRS draw! There’s hope! We can do this…right?” And, my friend, I’d love to tell you yes. Yes, we can absolutely do this. One of us will get lucky. The Sneaker Gods must be kind to someone. Why not us?
But, as it turns out, the Sneaker Gods (READ: Nike) are just plain mean. This thing is going to get ugly. Apparently, stock is lower on these than it was on the Chunky Dunky’s.
Oh, how they love to torment us. There are two different Grateful Dead sneakers dropping this week. The Chunky Dunky was one pair of shoes. But…somehow…there are less???
Ok. Alright. Fine. I’ve done the math. Just hand me the L now. It was nice having hope for a week or so.
Anyway, y’all, good luck.
What’s droppin’, bruh
THIS IS A BIG WEEK. Eyes peeled, y’all.
Converse Chuck Taylor Crater — Thursday, July 23
Nike SB Dunk Low “Grateful Dead” — Friday, July 24
Jordan 12 “Taxi” — Friday, July 24
Yeezy 380 “BLOARF” — Saturday, July 25
Off White Jordan 4 “Sail” — Saturday, July 25
That puts a bow on Monday, y’all. Thank you so much for spending some time with me this morning. I appreciate you, family.
Good luck with this week’s drops! Lots of goodies coming down the pipe. I hope to hear good news back.
As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.