The “Get High” advertising printed prominently on t-shirts in the window of the Nike store for everyone passing by to see last week caused Mayor Menino to write to the Nike Company and to ask them to remove the display.
After a few days of inertia and ambiguity, the sporting wear company most popular with the nation’s youth backed down and removed the display.
Nike did the right thing.
Although the company has remained quiet about its action, we would like to think that officials at the highest level of the company were not ready to debate the disadvantages of such an advertising campaign which suggest that young people “Get High.”
Millions of young people use drugs and do get high. The notion that it is cool to wear clothes advertising those words gives rise to the belief that it is OK to get high.
In this case, the mayor sought to have the advertising removed from the storefront. He did not attempt to play the voice of morality in making judgments about the products Nike is selling to our kids.
That kind of thing is entirely for another battle – and the mayor is not going there with good reason.
Some liberal voices in the city viewed the mayor’s interference with Nike’s advertising as a violation of Nike’s First Amendment rights.
Such assertions are mindless.
Nike didn’t have to remove the display at its Newbury Street location but chose to just the same.
The mayor is not prudish. He is about as liberal as they come.
However, the nature of the language displayed on the sportswear in the window advertising drug use created a natural distraction for parents with their young children passing by.
Simply put, the message wasn’t right for younger people.
The mayor’s common sense prevailed when Nike removed the display.
Nothing was lost.
Thank you Mayor Menino.