Nike and The Toronto Raptors wanted to be more inclusive when they teamed up to create a hijab with the Raptors’ team logo. Although the effort was praised by many, there was a lot of negative reaction, particularly on social media.
In 2017 Nike came out with the first-ever Nike Pro Hijab, endorsed by famous Muslim women athletes. Two years later The Raptors were the first team to have their logo on a hijab.
One group who not only supported but helped create the design for the Raptors’ hijab is The Hijabi Ballers, a Toronto based Muslim Organization. Its executive director, Amreen Kadwa, said, “It feels special to have the Raptors create a product exclusive for our Muslim female community”.
Following the release of the hijab, people on social media expressed that Nike was endorsing the idea that men want women to cover up or that this was an easy money grab for them.
Salaha Javed, the Student Life Coordinator for Sheridan Student Union, disagrees with those who believe that Nike was endorsing the idea that men want women to cover up. Javed explained that contrary to what many believe, those who do choose to cover up are doing so out of their own free will. “The idea of modesty, freedom, and comfort are all subjective matters that vary based on your own beliefs and values,” said Javed.
For Javed, playing sports was a constant struggle because it was difficult to keep a hijab in place, or it would get in her way, and take her attention away from the fun. Javed said, “This product is definitely going to help the younger generations feel more comfortable with their faith while pursuing sports”.
Kadwa agrees, saying, “It’s an inspiration for younger generations to see themselves in sports media and associate themselves with the team through their hijab.” She also feels that if more products similar to the Nike Pro Hijab are created for minorities, it would give younger generations a chance to better experience physical activities.
The new Raptors and Nike hijab collaboration is available at Toronto’s Realsports and should be available in more stores soon.