News Release

Bridgestone Super Bowl Deal Under Fire

Auto Spectator reports on an “extensive partnership between the Bridgestone Firestone brand and the NFL,” which includes “title sponsorship of the Super Bowl XLII and XLIII ‘Bridgestone Super Bowl Halftime Show’.”

The following analysts are available for interviews:

DAVE ZIRIN
Sportswriter Zirin’s latest book is Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports. The Los Angeles Times recently published his piece “Is the NFL on the right team? A Super Bowl sponsor isn’t playing fair with rubber workers in Liberia,” which states: “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might want to be more careful about who the league cozies up to, especially when the partner is known in some parts of the globe not for high-velocity tires but for highly exploitative labor practices.”

The Los Angeles Times also published a response by Dan Adomitis, president of the Firestone Natural Rubber Co., and a rebuttal by Zirin.

EMIRA WOODS
Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (a project of the Institute for Policy Studies) and a specialist in Liberia and U.S.-Africa Relations; she has helped organize the Stop Firestone Coalition. The Coalition has released a statement: “Since 1926, Bridgestone Firestone has operated the world’s largest rubber plantation in Harbel, Liberia, where there is child labor, widespread abuse of workers’ rights and environmental damage. Workers on the plantation earn just $3.19 per day.

“The Stop Firestone Coalition, which includes both U.S. and Liberia-based human rights, labor, environmental and Africa-focused organizations, calls on Bridgestone Firestone to stop the exploitation of workers and the environment on their plantation in Liberia and to negotiate a fair collective bargaining agreement with the newly elected union leaders on the plantation. The NFL should not be involved in a marketing partnership with Bridgestone Firestone until the company stops using child labor and ignoring international labor standards.”

Said Woods: “While it may be late for Super Bowl XLII, Firestone’s deal for next year’s game must be revoked.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167