Nike Uses Minor Threat

Sneaker outfit apologizes for borrowing punks' album art

June 28, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Nike Skateboarding has issued an apology to Minor Threat and Dischord Records for a promotional poster titled "Major Threat" that closely mirrored the album art of the band's 1981 self-titled EP.

"Minor Threat's music and iconographic album cover have been an inspiration to countless skateboarders since the album came out in 1984," reads a statement posted yesterday on the Nike Web site. "And for the members of the Nike Skateboarding staff, this is no different. Because of the album's strong imagery and because our East Coast tour ends in Washington, D.C., we felt that it was a perfect fit. This was a poor judgment call and should not have been executed without consulting Minor Threat and Dischord Records.

"We apologize for any problems this may have caused, and want to make very clear that we have no relationship with the members of Minor Threat or Dischord Records and they have not endorsed our products," the statement continues. "Every effort has been made to remove and dispose of all flyers (both print and digital)."

Nike's choice of poster art comes as a blow to the fiercely independent Minor Threat and Dischord Records, a label which has built a business model founded on consistently choosing art over commerce.

In a statement posted on the Dischord Records Web site last Friday, the label lamented the ad: "To longtime fans and supporters of Minor Threat and Dischord this must seem like just another familiar example of mainstream corporations attempting to assimilate underground culture to turn a buck. However it is more disheartening to us to think that Nike may be successful in using this imagery to fool kids, just beginning to becoming familiar with skate culture, underground music and DIY ideals, into thinking that the general ethos of this label, and Minor Threat in particular, can somehow be linked to Nike's mission."

Today, Dischord Records spokesman Alec Bourgeois responded to Nike's apology. "We are obviously pleased that Nike understands that the use of Minor Threat imagery was improper," says Bourgeois. "But the members of Minor Threat have yet to decide as a group whether or not to pursue further action."

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