Nike co-founder Phil Knight is "proud" of how company dealt with harassment allegations

Nike, the world's largest sporting goods company, expects to bring in about $34 billion in revenue this year. Many of the world's best-known athletes like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Serena Williams use Nike gear. But the company had more humble beginnings.

Phil Knight and his former university of Oregon track coach, Bill Bowerman, founded Nike in 1964. With a $50 loan from his father, Knight began selling shoes from the trunk of his car. 

"We got turned down by all the stores, so we went team to team to start, and then stores began to ask after the teams started buying," Knight recalled. He chronicles the company's successes and obstacles in his memoir, "Shoe Dog," published by Scribner (an imprint of Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS). He said a "shoe dog" is a person who loves shoes and "looks at shoes as more than foot coverings."

Nike was recently embroiled in a workplace scandal amid allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. At least six top executives resigned or left the company thereafter. Asked about the allegations and how the company is doing, Knight said, "Overall how Nike is doing is, we're doing fine." 

"Sales and earnings are growing, but we did have a shock within the last couple of months that certain number of managers were bullying employees and it was a shock to me personally and to a lot of the upper management. And it's disappointing as well as a shock. It's very disappointing, but I am proud of the company and the way it responded to the problems that it saw and it's basically cleaning house for those people," Knight said. 

As for why he stood by Tiger Woods amid the ups and downs of his career and arrest, Knight said, "I had gotten to know him really quite well and like and admired him."

"I thought his dalliances, as you will, were really kind of an aberration. And that I thought that if we couldn't forgive him for that, what do we stand for? And I think that he is a good guy and he's showing that to the world," Knight said.