#tayakyle

Nike – Just Hate It

Just when we though corporate sanctimony had hit highs at Halliburton and Gillette, Nike was not to be outdone. A shame that so many divisive and hypocritical athletes were portrayed as role models. Then again this is nothing new with the woke sports brand. Wonderful computer graphics though.

Colin Kaepernick was an average quarterback at best. He only started kneeling after he got stuck on the bench. Who could forget his hypocrisy re July 4th? He cheered the holiday in a tweet under President Obama but slammed it this year as a celebration of white supremacy. Nike portrays him as a hero. War widow Taya Kyle excoriated Nike for not knowing what real sacrifice was.

Megan Rapinoe was only too happy to hurl expletives when the USWNT won the women’s World Cup Soccer in 2019 despite so many children present. Rapinoe also slapped Sports Illustrated for not being woke enough in an acceptance speech after the magazine awarded her Sportsperson of the Year. Rapinoe will also join forces with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez next month to promote the reprehensible, radical and divisive Marxist 1619 Project which is now a mandatory part of the curriculum in state schools across Buffalo, Chicago, Newark and Washington.

Or LeBron James. He was only too happy to apologize to China on behalf of Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey who had tweeted support for those protestors seeking freedom in HK. We guess when one has a $1bn merchandise contract with Nike in China, freedom takes a backseat to expediency.

Or Serena Williams who blew up at the Australian Open when she was censured for multiple code violations in the final vs Naomi Osaka. She complained that the umpires were harsher on women. 20 years worth of statistics showed men are far more likely to be sanctioned in professional tennis.

Maybe Nike might reflect on a February 2020 study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). According to the research, the persecuted Uighurs have been funnelled to work in factories in other provinces under conditions “that strongly suggest forced labour.”

Nike, Adidas, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are among 83 multinational corporations that have been linked to using this forced labour.

So in summary, Nike wants people to follow those who will gladly sell out their country, receive participation trophies while they are supposedly making a huge sacrifice, complain when things don’t go their way, apologize to dictatorships on behalf of those who support freedom, kneel, cuss and push Marxist ideology to school kids.

Maybe the brand should change its moniker to “Just Hate It.”

In rare support of Nike

Who could forget Nike’s political stunt in favour of the kneelers supporting BLM? Recall the millions it paid Colin Kaepernick to tell us about the bravery of those sacrificing everything if they believed in it. Social justice is a thang at Nike, at least among the marketing department. Naturally, it provoked a lot of anger from real Americans who served their country, some who paid for it with their lives. Taya Kyle, the war widow of legendary sniper Chris Kyle, wrote a stern letter to Nike which was on the mark.

Now some are taking Nike to task over the sponsorship contracts it holds with superstars, especially females. Nike does not appear to sacrifice everything, especially when it believes it.

Six-time track and field Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix penned an op-ed to The NY Times telling of the cold realities of re-contracting while considering having a child. Sadly the Nike contracting team is probably staffed with icy cold hard-nosed realists compared to the cuddly socially active marketing department.

33-yo Felix said Nike wanted to contract her 70% less after her pregnancy. She wanted the original value to stay in force even if she suffered slight underperformance in the months after childbirth. Her request is totally understandable. Surely Nike could have done some celebrity mother and child adverts to pluck at the heartstrings of the average person? Get all those mothers with newborns to sport a pair of Nike kicks and leotards as they push their strollers to yoga. Just the sort of mush that a marketing department craves.

High-end endorsements are extremely hard to get. The bigger the payout the higher the pressure and expectations thrust upon the star. Contracts are driven by athletic performance and the ability to drive sales off the back of it. These performance-based targets are likely to be written clearly in black and white. It sounds like Felix needed a much better sports agent to negotiate such clauses. Serena Williams had a child and her Nike endorsements rolled on unaffected. The tennis champ even narrated a “dream crazier” advert solely looking at women in sport.

Is Felix’s 70% haircut anything more than Nike’s endorsement team taking a view on her future performance when it comes to which brand ambassadors will keep driving sales? It must have made a judgement call that Felix was past her prime. If we looked at all the females sponsored by Nike, what rank is she within the long list of names? Usain Bolt hung up his golden boots at age 30.

It is unclear how many millions that Felix received from Nike every year. Sponsorship is slightly different from employment. There are lots of caveats in sports contracts which ensure that athletes behave responsibly “outside” the game to reflect the values of the organisation. One might feel some pity that the choice to have a child ruined her contract terms but Nike has not done anything illegal.

It is unlikely that any two Nike superstar endorsement contracts are the same. Michael Jordan ended up with his own brand within Nike. Undoubtedly he was paid better than an up and coming college NFL star. It is most likely that Serena Williams’ contract had many different term and conditions to Allyson Felix. If Felix signed her contract she took on all of the legalities within it, including the fine print. Unlike an employment contract, sponsorships terms can change on a whim.

The Nike sponsorship Rolodex is undoubtedly littered with stars – male and female – in their 30s, re-contracted at far lower rates than when they were in their prime. Felix wouldn’t be alone. Age, rather than maternity was probably the bigger driver for the Nike decision makers. The world of sports is brutal. Unless one is a Valentino Rossi of MotoGP fame, a Roger Federer/Serena Williams in tennis or an Usain Bolt in track & field, ongoing sponsorship tends to fade as these stars get put out to pasture.

Yet we are not Nike and we do not have the full facts of how it grants its limited marketing dollars. Perhaps we should ask why Adidas or Puma aren’t beating a path to Felix’s door to contract her and get some mileage out of the controversy? Nike knows the endorsement field probably better than most. The risk of her defection is minimal at best, therefore, Nike can drive hard bargains. Take it or leave it.

War widow Taya Kyle’s message to Kaepernick & Nike

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Taya Kyle, widow of legendary military sniper, Chris Kyle, said of Nike and Colin Kaepernick. Posted without comment.

“Nike, I love your gear, but you exhaust my spirit on this one. Your new ad with Colin Kapernick, I get the message, but that sacrificing everything thing…. It just doesn’t play out here. Sacrificing what exactly? A career? I’ve done that both times I chose to stay home and be with my kids instead of continuing my business climb… and it wasn’t sacrificing everything. It was sacrificing one career and some money and it was because of what I believe in and more importantly, who I believe in.

At best, that is all Colin sacrificed… some money and it’s debatable if he really lost his career over it. Maybe he sacrificed the respect of some people while he gained the respect of others. Or maybe he used one career to springboard himself into a different career when the first was waning. I don’t know. What I do know is, he gained popularity and magazine covers he likely wouldn’t have gotten without getting on his knees or as you say, “believing in something.” I’m also thinking the irony is that while I am not privy to the numbers, it’s likely he gained a lucrative Nike contract. So yeah… that whole “sacrificing everything” is insulting to those who really have sacrificed everything.

You want to talk about someone in the NFL sacrificing everything? Pat Tillman. NFL STARTING, not benched, player who left to join the Army and died for it. THAT is sacrificing everything for something you believe in.

How about other warriors? Warriors who will not be on magazine covers, who will not get lucrative contracts and millions of followers from their actions and who have truly sacrificed everything. They did it because they believed in something. Take it from me, when I say they sacrificed everything, they also sacrificed the lives of their loved ones who will never be the same. THAT is sacrificing everything for something they believe in.

Did you get us talking? Yeah, you did. But, your brand recognition was strong enough. Did you teach the next generation of consumers about true grit? Not that I can see.

Taking a stand, or rather a knee, against the flag which has covered the caskets of so many who actually did sacrifice everything for something they believe in, that we all believe in? Well, the irony of your ad..it almost leaves me speechless. Were you trying to be insulting?

Maybe you are banking on the fact we won’t take the time to see your lack of judgement in using words that just don’t fit. Maybe you are also banking on us not seeing Nike as kneeling before the flag. Or maybe you want us to see you exactly that way. I don’t know. All I know is, I was actually in the market for some new kicks and at least for now, I’ve never been more grateful for Under Armour.”