Mayor Menino calls on Nike to take down window display

Posted: 06/21/11 at 10:50 pm EDT

BOSTON -- Nike is famous for its ‘Just Do It’ slogan, but a display at the Niketown store on Newbury Street has Mayor Menino furious.

He wants the athletic company to just take it down.

So, what's in the window? They're just t-shirts, but it's what's printed on the shirts that has the mayor upset.

The shirts say things like "dope" and "get high" with bottles than appear to be spilling pills, but on closer look are boards.

“It doesn’t matter, I’ve been an athlete my whole life, I don’t care what culture it is - it’s inappropriate,” said Deborah Lynch.

“I think it’s the opposite,” said Sid Lees. “I think they’re using irony, satire. Just by looking at it you can tell - I mean it’s Nike.”

The shirts are right by Nike's ‘Just Do It’ slogan.

So, is the company telling people to do drugs?

That's what mayor says.

He tells the Herald he was walking along Newbury Street when he saw the display.

He says he was appalled so he wrote Nike a letter asking the company to take it down, writing:

"Your window display of T-shirts with drug and profanity wordplay are out of keeping with the character of Boston's Back Bay, our entire city and our aspirations for our young people…not to mention common sense."

“I don’t think it’s probably the most brilliant marketing campaign with there being an issue with drugs in the city anyway,” said Jessica Stone. “Nike I think probably has a bigger responsibility than that…I don’t think it’s particularly smart advertising.”

In a statement, the company told The Herald:

"These T-shirts are part of an action sports campaign, featuring marquee athletes using commonly used and accepted expressions for performance at the highest level of their sport."

So for now, the display stays -- but for how long?

(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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