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“You can see how the world is like changing, people killing over sneakers.” – Cousin of shooting victim Montre Bradley

Montre Bradley wasn’t killed for his sneakers, but he might as well have been. Two thugs who learned people were waiting in line to buy $220 Nike Foamposites robbed the customers of cash and other items. Someone, perhaps Bradley, struggled, shots were fired and Bradley was killed.

The heinous crime joins the list of senseless sneaker-related violent incidents across the country.

So called “sneaker riots” have broken out when new models are released. Sneaker frenzies are nothing new, but social media and the ability to sell limited editions at huge markups on eBay are adding fuel to the fire. Things got so bad, Nike recently gave retailers instructions on how to avoid problems, including not opening at midnight and creating online reservations via Twitter.

Nike has gotten a tremendous amount of criticism over sneaker-related violence. The Urban League has asked Nike to hold off on selling $315 LeBron shoes. Columnists across the country are decrying sneaker materialism. One columnist likened Nike to a drug dealer:

…what the billion dollar shoe company hustles isn’t drugs or even sneakers. It trades in cool.


…trading in cool comes at a cost. The price is the financial well being of those who line Nike’s soles and those who keep Nike paid and those who are willing to rob and steal just to be the king. The economy continues to fall apart, unemployment rates are through the roof and Nike knows that the kids are strung out. So they just keep mass marketing high-priced cool to those who can’t afford it.


For years now, sneaker fiends have been getting beaten and robbed for their coveted dope. Recently the release of the Nike Foamposite Galaxy’s caused riots from Florida to Maryland. Sneakerheads were rumbling to get their hands on the newest fix, but does Nike increase supply? Nope. Do they drop the prices to make the shoes more accessible? Nope.

In fact, Nike tells the stores to keep their corner in check and beef up security to make sure they keep things civil.

Nike just keeps plugging away, earning more money. One blogger compared the $315 LeBron shoes to $625 Christian Louboutin heels, but concedes Louboutins aren’t “marketed to the average youth.”

We all spend money on things we don’t need and can’t afford. We all spend money on things that serve no other purpose than to make us feel good. Expensive sneaker-buying gets criticized because of Nike’s perceived exploitation of urban youth. The Atlantic Wire wrote:

…we step onto rubber soles and become Michael Jordan, or Joey Ramone. But there’s a difference between the two — and even today, it’s the difference between a harmless lace-up and a paycheck-obliterating, riot-causing fetish object.

Once again, it all comes down to who companies are marketing to — and how they choose to treat the consumer.

Bradley’s killers saw an opportunity to prey on innocent people. How did these criminals know the customers had so much cash? Ask Nike.

Links of the Day:

– Jean-Claude Brizard is getting blamed for a possible teacher strike in Chicago and could be out of a job. He’s mainly faulted for his communication skills, something that dogged him in Rochester. He either really messed up or is being set up as the fall guy.

All RCSD students will get a free lunch this school year.

– Is the Inn on Broadway in trouble? It owes $140,000 in back taxes.

The majority of new jobs pay low wages.

3 Responses to For Sneakers

  1. Its terrible that people would target these sneaker fans too. Nike needs to stop. Wonderful that students will get free lunches. The Colfax needs to be better but those forms were cumbersome, teens wouldn’t touch them and people who couldn’t read them or speak another language couldn’t manage them well. Kids would be denied lunch if forms weren’t filled out. We have a kind superintendent who cares about people. Brizzard followed an agenda that is in vogue right now and the problems are coming to a head. Chicago and the push to corporatize schools has been going on for awhile now and is Obama’s model. Chicago teachers have had more than their fill of it and are more savvy about it. Its time to really push back. Brizzard was just more of the same and a stand in guy for politicians who desire a cheerleaders for their agenda. In many ways Chicago has tried gentrification by also driving the poor and minorities out of Chicago by tearing down public housing and not replacing it. The poor are being driven out to Champlain and Urbana as well as other smaller cities because of housing. This causes trouble for these areas with university populations. Colletge students become targets for crime.

  2. college students become targets for crime when the PREZ of the university makes pathways from high crime areas to his campus and when he builds student housing in poor neighborhoods thereby putting his students in harms way as urban renewal ginea pigs as he knows he can’t protect them. (see UR)
    All kids in RCSD get free lunches is BAD NEWS not good. Parents should provide for their kids. And high income city/ East Ave residents etc shouldn’t be able to have their kids get taxpayer funded food. Obama and DEMS are against Vouchers except for their own kids. REPs want them for all. But its REP who are mostly called racists. Funny how the truth can hurt at times

  3. Someone needs to tell the person whose name is one those sneakers what happ

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