We appreciate anti-Nike sentiment of Marshall Fisher, commissioner of Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), but his attempt to ban Nike products from DPS procurements is dead wrong. It’s not his money.
Mississippi’s procurement laws are getting better but there is still a long way to go. The last thing we need is a top state official interjecting his personal political beliefs into the state procurement process. This violates the letter and the spirit of our state procurement laws. Fisher needs to backtrack ASAP.
Fisher’s beef is with Nike’s inflammatory endorsement of Colin Kaepernick, the football player who made history by kneeling during the national anthem. We all know that story.
Mississippi’s procurement laws are full of favoritism and wiggle room, allowing government officials to reward certain vendors for various reasons, typically some form of gift or illegal pecuniary benefit. Picking and choosing vendors based on political ideology introduces a whole new aspect of procurement abuse. This needs to be nipped in the bud. It is an indictment of our lax procurement laws that Fisher is trying to do this in the first place. The Mississippi Justice Institute responded immediately, sending a letter to DPS. “A government boycott of a company for an exercise of free speech would be a flagrant violation of our First Amendment,” the letter states.