As Team USA Olympics team gets ready for the opening of the Summer Olympics in London just a few weeks away, controversy is surrounding news that the uniforms they will be wearing were manufactured in China.
- (Photo: Facebook/Ralph Lauren)
That fact was discovered by ABC News, which looked at the labels of the red, white and blue uniforms. The uniforms were crafted by U.S designer Ralph Lauren, but are being produced in China, the host nation of the 2008 Olympics.
Sen. Harry Reid, when asked about the news Thursday, said outright that the Olympic Committee's decision is a disgrace. "I think the Olympic Committee should be ashamed," Reid said, as reported by Fox News, which noted that the senator said the uniforms should be "burned."
Some U.S. fashion designers have also expressed their surprise and disappointment that such a patriotic event and image like the opening of the Olympic Games will not be a fully American experience for the U.S athletes, who will have to wear the Chinese-made uniforms.
"Why shouldn't we have pride not only in the American athletes, but in the American manufacturers and laborers who are the backbone of our country?" asked Nanette Lepore, a U.S. fashion designer. "Why? What's wrong? Why was that not a consideration?"
Lepore insisted that it was "absolutely" possible that the uniforms could have been in the United States instead of sending the job over to China – and argued that U.S. manufactures could have even made the uniforms for less money.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has officially responded to an inquiry by ABC News about their choice of manufacturers by sharing that they are privately funded and so rely on sponsorships for clothing and equipment.
"The U.S. Olympic team is privately funded and we're grateful for the support of our sponsors. We're proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company," the committee said.
The story has sparked more than 6,500 comments on Yahoo News, with readers debating just how significant and indicative of the current state of the U.S economy is the choice of clothing manufacturer by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
"When all you care about is money the only thing that counts is price. We used to stand for quality, self-reliance, a commitment to excellence and the prestige that comes with it. Those virtues mean nothing anymore. Only price," offered a reader named "Joe."
"We devastate our economy and society by closing productive businesses and off-shoring jobs needed here for the survival of our citizens the most precious and greatest resource we have for the sole purpose of increasing investor dividends by a few pennies a share and then preach to the world how we are a superior Christian nation advancing the goals of civilization. If we can't afford uniforms made in our own country we can't afford to be in the Olympics, period," he added.
"We need to implement a major 'Buy American' campaign. Why can't our Team's uniforms be made in the USA?" asked "Salsa King."
"Truly sad, this however is a perfect example of American and Global corporate culture. Profit before patriotism and profit above all. Corporations no longer have allegiance to their countries of origin nor to their workers who help build them up. We now have corporations run solely for the bottom line and the fat bonuses of top management," wrote a reader named "Strawman."