SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA: Nike has fired the manager of one of its California stores after the employee allegedly "racially profiled" a black family. The development comes after the manager accused the family of stealing a $12 basketball that they had actually purchased on July 5.
As reported by Click2 Houston, Nike released an apology statement on Friday (19 July) and said that they had reached out to the family and expressed their "deepest apologies".
"We are taking the recent situation at our Santa Monica store very seriously, and we are currently investigating the facts. We have reached out to the family to express our deepest apologies, and we will continue to work with our teams to ensure we deliver on our expectations for consumer experiences," Nike said.
The company's apology came two weeks after Tamiya Dickerson and Joel Stallworth had taken their 18-month-old son Sammy to a Nike store in Santa Monica Place shopping mall. The couple shared that they had initially not planned on buying anything but had changed their mind and decided to buy a Nike Swoosh Mini basketball after their son picked it up and started to carry it around.
Both Stallworth and Dickerson shared that as they were leaving the store, the manager followed them out and accused them of stealing the ball. The manager also demanded that they give the ball back. Stallworth attempted to explain that they had already paid for the ball and continued to walk down the street with his family. The manager did not listen and kept following them before flagging down some police officers.
The parents then started to film the incident after three cops got involved. Dickerson can be heard saying in the video, "This is ridiculous, we purchased this basketball in the store."
Stallworth even throws the basketball down in frustration when the manager picks it up. However, after the unnecessary drama, the family was given the ball back upon showing the receipt to the officers.
Post the incident, they went back to the store and returned the ball asking for a refund.
The family added that the manager did not apologize for her appalling behavior. Stallworth said, "She had zero evidence that I stole anything. She couldn't have evidence because I bought it. She discriminated against me. She planted an evil seed in the officer, so as soon as the officer came up to me, he said: 'Sir, give me the stolen ball'."
In response to the humiliating incident, Stallworth and Dickerson hired attorney Stephen King who shared: "What we're hoping to do is to get Nike to have some sort of understanding and meeting of the minds to find out if this was an isolated act, or is this something that is more pervasive within the society of the employees that they hire."