Score one for the good guys. Following an outpouring of negative feedback (including an op-ed written on this very site), Sherwin-Williams, the paint-making Cleveland institution, has announced they will no longer be removing the Nike LeBron James imagery from the side of its building during the upcoming Republican National Convention. Moreover, they will donate $150,000 to the LeBron James Family Foundation in celebration of their 150th anniversary.
Here's the press release:
CLEVELAND (June 28, 2016) – Sherwin-Williams today announced in celebration of its 150th anniversary and the first Cleveland hometown sports championship in 52 years, the company is donating $150,000 to the LeBron James Family Foundation.
In recognition of fan interest, the company will keep the now-famous LeBron James banner hanging from its global headquarters building. The banner was set to come down for the summer in order to display a Sherwin-Williams banner celebrating 150 years.
“For 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has been proud to call Cleveland our home, and we’re committed to doing the right thing for the people of this great city," said John Morikis, President and CEO, The Sherwin-Williams Company. “For the last year, we’ve been planning to hang a celebratory banner outside our building during the summer months. But what better way to celebrate our 150th year than with a NBA championship. As a long-time supporter of the Cavs, and the entire community, we want the energy and excitement in this city to continue."
Sherwin-Williams supports the Cavaliers and the Cleveland community in numerous ways. The company was a co-sponsor of last week’s parade, employs 3,000 people in Northeast Ohio who volunteer their time across the community, and Sherwin-Williams has a long history of donations to worthwhile causes, such as the LeBron James Family Foundation.
“We are so grateful to the Sherwin-Williams Company for their continued generosity to the Akron and Cleveland communities, and would like to congratulate them on their 150-year milestone," said Michele Campbell, the Executive Director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. “This contribution to our kids will go a long way in helping us provide the resources and interventions necessary to keep our students in school and on the path to a college education."
The LeBron James Family Foundation’s mission is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational activities.
Until this update, the plan was for Sherwin-Williams to remove the 10-story landmark—just days after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the city's first championship in over 50 years—and replace it with corporate branding that was to "welcome summer visitors." In addition, this banner would stay up throughout the entire summer, not returning for 90 days from its removal meaning Cavalier fans would have just two weeks from the completion of the NBA Finals until its removal.
Feedback penned by Clevelanders on various social media channels was largely skewed toward the negative, though there were some who felt the company was within its right to do whatever it wishes during this time of heightened focus on the city of Cleveland. While we agreed with this sentiment, the right to do something doesn't mean it's right by the rest of the city. It appears the decision-making folks at Sherwin-Williams finally agreed.