When Jim Keady was a master’s degree candidate in theology and graduate assistant soccer coach at St. John’s University, the athletic department required him to wear Nike gear, thanks to a multimillion-dollar endorsement contract, or lose his job. He refused, left the university, and a new path opened.
Oswego students chose Keady, the anti-sweatshop crusader, as the keynote speaker for Quest 2010, Oswego’s annual symposium of scholarly and creative activity.
Keady told how he spent 12 years investigating, filming and bedeviling the sportswear giant on the issue of fair wages and working conditions for factory employees in developing nations. Nike, weary of its swoosh logo as a target for anti-sweatshop campaigners like Keady, earned accreditation in 2005 from the Fair Labor Association and praise from former critics.
Photo: Keady speaking at Oswego’s Quest 2010