Illegal Procedure? Dallas Cowboys Called on Sweatshop Connections
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent $1 billion to build the gilded palace his legendary National Football League team plays in eight Sundays a year. But in the gift shops inside Cowboys Stadium and in sports apparel stores around the nation, Cowboys fans are buying fancy jackets, jerseys and other gear made by Cambodian workers earning just 29 cents an hour for 10-hour days, six days a week.
And now the Cowboys merchandising arm—Silver Star Merchandising—is pursuing deals with major U.S. universities for exclusive rights to produce the schools’ logo apparel, reports ESPN’s Outside the Lines. A recent episode spotlighted the Cambodian supplier’s factory where workers:
fear the wrath of their supervisors if they talk to a co-worker sitting next to them or take too long at the bathroom. They say they are essentially forced to work overtime daily and describe a hostile work environment in which supervisors yell and insult them. They work while sick because either they can’t afford to go to the doctor or fear they will be fired if they miss work.
One of the schools Silver Star has its sights set on is Ohio State and student activists there are outraged, says Rob Battista of the Ohio State chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). In letter urging students to fight the proposed 10-year deal he writes:
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, our group revealed disturbing collusion between the Cowboys and our university to completely restructure our licensing program and to give the Cowboys exclusive rights to make Buckeye gear, cutting off ties with dozens of local Ohio businesses. For months, we have been pleading with our university administration to restart this unethical process, yet they refuse to. How can OSU continue to entertain a rigged deal with a company that abuses workers’ rights and conspires to obtain backdoor deals?
Click here for the Outside the Lines Report and here for more from Ohio State USAS.