UPDATE: Coal Taken Out of Nike Ad for WVU Pro Combat Uniform

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 9/3/10 @ 11:30 a.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Coal is out of the picture: The latest version of an ad promoting a Nike Pro Combat football uniform for the West Virginia Mountaineers shows a stadium rather than a strip mine behind a player.

Nike revised the ad Thursday after environmentalists complained about the depiction of a mountaintop removal mine behind the image of a uniform intended to honor 29 men killed in the Upper Big Branch mine blast.

That mine was an underground operation.

Activists said the ad appeared to be a tacit endorsement of mountaintop removal by both Nike and WVU.

Both insisted that wasn't their intention.

Nike says it designed the black and white uniforms as a tribute to the state's coal mining heritage.

They'll be worn in the Backyard Brawl at Pittsburgh Nov. 26.

UPDATE 9/2/10 @ 4:55 p.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia University says Nike will modify the graphic in a promotional ad for a new football uniform that depicts a mountaintop removal mine.

A statement issued late Thursday from Nike said the same thing WVU said earlier in the day: The new Pro Combat uniform was designed to honor the heritage of coal mining and the 29 victims of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Nike issued the statement through WVU. It says it will change the image to address the concerns of angry environmental activists.

They say the ad appears to be a tacit endorsement of the controversial form of strip mining in Appalachia.

Activists also complained the ad made little sense. Upper Big Branch was an underground operation.

ORIGINAL STORY 9/2/10 @ 10 a.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Mountaintop removal mining activists are demanding Nike pull its promotional ad for a new West Virginia University football uniform because it features a strip mine.

The gear was designed in tribute to 29 men killed in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion. But activists including Bo Webb point out the mine was an underground operation.

They say the ad suggests WVU and Nike endorse the controversial form of strip mining, and Webb wants apologies to the people harmed by such mines.

A WVU spokesman did not have an immediate response. Oregon-based Nike did not immediately respond to messages Thursday.

The gear is to be worn for the Nov. 26 game at Pitt.

The off-white clothing is intended to appear coated in coal dust, and the number 29 is on the coal-black helmets.

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