Nike Founder’s “Unprecedented Donation” to Republican Candidate Draws Criticism

Phil Knight has donated copiously towards Oregon's Republican candidate.

The Nike logo. (Arthur Widak/NurPhoto)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nike founder Phil Knight is drawing criticism for his “unprecedented donation” to a Republican running for office.

To date, Knight has given $2.5 million to Knute Buehler, a Republican running for the governorship of Oregon, where Nike’s offices are headquartered. The donation is a record breaker in Oregon, The Guardian reported, with some speculating that Knight may have funneled another $1 million through the Republican Governors’ Association.

Neither Knight nor Buehler’s camps have publicly commented on the donations or the relationship between the two, but the Representative’s Democratic opponent has a few thoughts of her own on the subject.

Knight is “clearly accustomed to buying whatever he wants,” a spokesperson for Kate Brown, told the news site. “A lot of Oregonians are wondering if this is an attempt to buy a governor.”

The global sportswear magnate has been notoriously shy in the media and keeps his political opinions to himself.

“Phil Knight’s money always comes with strings attached,” author of the new book on Nike’s relationship with the University of Oregon, The University of Nike, Joshua Hunt, told The Guardian. “He uses philanthropy as a cudgel to get what he wants.”

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