Nike officials said Thursday they are investigating allegations by a black family that they were racially profiled and wrongly accused of shoplifting by a white manager at the athletic apparel company’s Santa Monica store.
“We are taking the recent situation at our Santa Monica store very seriously, and we are currently investigating the facts,” said KeJuan Wilkins, Nike’s vice president of North America Communications. “We have reached out to the family to express our deepest apologies, and we will continue to work with our teams to deliver on our expectations for consumer experiences.”
Joel Stallworth and TaMiya Dickerson contend they were accused by a white store manager of stealing a $12 basketball on July 5 from the Nike store on the Third Street Promenade. Dickerson posted a video on Facebook, showing their 19-month-old son Samuel holding the ball in the store. It also shows a copy of the receipt from their purchase of the ball.
They claim a store manager followed them out of the store and accused them of stealing the basketball. Despite telling the manager they had purchased the ball, the manager flagged down Santa Monica police officers for help.
Stallworth and Dickerson are heard on the video insisting that they purchased the ball and had a receipt. After showing the receipt to officers, the manager is seen walking away, with Dickerson demanding a refund and an apology, saying they were being racially profiled.
The couple later went back inside the store and returned the ball.
“This seems to be the American way for people like us,” Stallworth wrote in a Facebook post. “This has happened far too many time to me personally. My son, I would hope, will never have to experience this again.”