In less than two weeks the Swoosh-splattered Olympics begin and the new Nike Sportswear line launches. But Nike's sweet publicity front has been soured. On Friday, the sports giant announced it would pull three ads for its new Hyperdunk basketball shoe, after criticism surfaced that the ads were homophobic. The series of ads created by Wieden + Kennedy features one player slam-dunking the basketball over the other player with the crotch of one dunker unmistakably smushed in the other guy's face. Copy on the ads reads either "That Ain't Right," "Isn't That Cute," and "Punks Jump Up." Nike said they weren't meant to be offensive, and we believe them. After all, in the past they've been praised by gay-rights advocates for supporting laws banning discrimination against gays. But we're surprised no one immature and outspoken enough in either the offices of Wieden + Kennedy or Nike saw the ads and said, "Man, that picture is so gay." Surely that would've caused someone to reconsider. —Sharon Clott
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