Friday, October 19, 2018

"Claim that Nike's Phil Knight threatened to withhold funds 'patently false,' Frohnmayer says"

When the University of Oregon joined an upstart labor-rights group in 2000, the decision so upset Nike chairman Phil Knight that he publicly rescinded his personal $30 million pledge to expand the school's football stadium.

Now, 18 years later, new allegations suggest that Knight made an even more aggressive play behind the scenes: threatening to withhold philanthropic support that could help keep alive the youngest daughter of the University of Oregon's then-president, Dave Frohnmayer.

The stunning anecdote was published Thursday on the Pacific Standard website. It comes as an excerpt from author Joshua Hunt's forthcoming book, "University of Nike: How Corporate Cash Bought American Higher Education," which will be released Tuesday.

Knight, through a Nike spokesman, declined to comment Friday. Frohnmayer's wife, Lynn, released a statement Friday saying they had no reason to believe Knight would withhold a donation, and any implication that Knight made such a comment "is patently false."