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Sports in Society

Nike, Columbia to begin firing unvaccinated employees soon

Nike has "notified some employees that it plans to fire them on Saturday because they haven't met the company's deadline to verify their vaccination against COVID-19 and haven't received an exemption for religious or medical reasons," according to Rogoway & Manning of the Portland OREGONIAN. Columbia Sportswear said that it "plans to take similar measures and will begin firing unvaccinated corporate employees Feb. 1." But it appears that the number of employees who "actually lose their jobs at Nike and Columbia Sportswear" is "likely to be small." Some report that Nike "has been granting at least a few last-minute exemptions and say they are confused as to why the company approved some accommodations but not others." The vast majority of those employees have been working remotely since COVID-19 hit the state in March '20, but Nike has indicated that it "hopes to move most of them back to the office as the pandemic ends." The company set a Dec. 1 deadline last year for employees to "verify their vaccination status or apply for an exemption." Columbia Sportswear Chief HR Officer Richelle Luther "declined to disclose how many will lose their jobs but indicated it's a relatively small number." In a Dec. 14 memo, Nike Chief HR Officer Monique Matheson said that the company hopes to "have employees return to the office on a part-time basis beginning this month" (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/13).

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: July 7, 2022

Talking points from Sun Valley; Pac-12 retains Sports Media Advisors; Oak View Group to sell Top Golf national sponsorships and Rapino remains influential with new deal at Live Nation

SBJ Unpacks: LIV Golf tees off in Portland

Ahead of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in Illinois and LIV Golf Invitational Portland, SBJ’s Josh Carpenter, and David Rumsey spoke with Sports Illustrated's Bob Harig and Brendan Porath of The Fried Egg to discuss the current state of golf.

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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