(Reuters) - Nike Inc. said on Friday it will settle a lawsuit that had become a constitutional battle over whether free-speech rights protected a publicity campaign by the company to counter accusations that Asian sweatshops made its footwear.Nike was 100% in the right. There was no reason for it to settle. But by settling this suit, it has put speech with an economic motive into an intellectual ghetto.
Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike, the world's largest maker of athletic shoes, said it will pay an additional $1.5 million on workplace-related programs over the next three years. The sum will be paid to Fair Labor Association, a Washington D.C.-based group that promotes workers' education and economic welfare.
The lawsuit was filed in 1998 by Marc Kasky, a San Francisco consumer activist, under a California consumer protection law aimed at eliminating unfair competition and false advertising.
The lawsuit claimed Nike misled the public about working conditions for its Vietnamese, Chinese and Indonesian laborers, and that its statements amounted to false advertising.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June cleared the way for the suit to proceed by refusing to decide whether the U.S. Constitution's free-speech rights protected Nike's publicity campaign.
What a bunch of cowards. I'll have more to say on this later.