Post Co. Director Buffett Owns Over
7.5 Million Shares of Nike Stock,
Valued at $448 Million; Son Peter
Operates Nike Charitable Foundation
Holy conflict of interest
, Batman! You might have seen the "expose
" hit piece on Maryland athletic apparel company UnderArmour in the Washington Post
Sports section recently.
In this piece of "journalism," the reporter tried to create the impression that UnderArmour was engaged in inappropriate recruiting activity on behalf of the University of Maryland. And failed to make a strong case to verify that accusation. It also included a vulgar quote suggesting that the UnderArmour shoe in question was low in quality.
At the same time, it presented one of the warmest, most favorable impressions of sweatshop giant Nike that I have ever read. It stated, for example, that Nike would never
engage in this sort of activity. And that Nike would never
allow a high school athlete to tour its Oregon factory.
There's just one problem.Washington Post Company Director Warren Buffett just happens to own massive amounts of Nike stock. Furthermore, he has pledged $1 billion in Berkshire Hathaway Stock to a Nike charitable foundation that just happens to be operated by his son, Peter.Most importantly, the Post article failed to disclose this incredible conflict of interest.
And what a conflict of interest it is, ladies and gentlemen! Any athletic apparel analyst knows that UnderArmour is one of the fastest growing companies in the field. It is now moving into the shoe market, currently dominated by... Nike. So this article, potentially directed by Buffett himself(?), cast a shadow on the integrity of upstart UnderArmour. It cast an extremely favorable light on Nike. And it went so far as to - conveniently - trash a shoe line that is a potential threat to Nike.It's outrageous.
Of course, we know that failure to disclose conflicts of interest is simply operating procedure at The Washington Post
. But once again, the Post has embarrassed itself and made clear that it operates under the lowest of journalistic standards.
When it comes to using the Post as a weapon for his business interests, Warren Buffett has one message for his newsroom:Just do it.