#BLM

Nike kicks July 4 kicks on Kaep’s call

Apparently Colin Kaepernick said that Nike’s limited edition 4th of July Betsy Ross flag sneakers could be perceived as harking back to the slavery era. Betsy Ross was credited with making the first American flag in 1790.

Nike has pulled the shoes from stores citing some spurious claims that white nationalists use the Betsy Ross flag.

Good to see Arizona Governor Doug Ducey rescind the incentive dollars offered to Nike to open the plant just outside Phoenix. Ducey said,

Words cannot express my disappointment at this terrible decision…Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation’s independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism.”

Maybe Nike should make a BLM edition sneaker? Better still they can make Colin Kaepernick branded kneepads to help kneelers such as Megan Rapinoe protest the very country she represents.

Identity Politics rejected by those who would seemingly benefit

Quillette columnist Coleman Hughes testified in front of a House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on the subject of a bill proposing to conduct a commission into slavery reparations. Hughes’ testimony was not what activists wanted to hear so he was heckled by them.

He argued that such a path would further divide the nation. Such is the scourge of identity politics and the victim mentality.

He was booed when he said, “Black people don’t need another apology. We need safer neighborhoods and better schools. We need a less punitive criminal justice system. We need affordable health care. And none of these things can be achieved through reparations for slavery.”

He went on to describe that reparations were not only divisive, but an “insult to many black Americans by putting a price on the suffering of their ancestors, and we would turn the relationship between black Americans and white Americans from a coalition into a transaction

Reparations by definition are only given to victims, so the moment you give me reparations, you’ve made me into a victim without my consent. Not just that, you’ve made 1/3 of black Americans who poll against reparations into victims without their consent, and black Americans have fought too long for the right to define themselves to be spoken for in such a condescending manner...

The question is not what America owes me by virtue of my ancestry, the question is what all Americans owe each other by virtue of being citizens of the same nation…And the obligation of citizenship is not transactional. It’s not contingent on ancestry. It never expires, and it can’t be paid off. For all these reasons, bill HR 40 is a moral and political mistake.”

Isn’t it ironic how out of touch the political class is when the very people they hope will give them the answer they want to hear do the exact opposite.

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.

Nike & Colin Kaepernick

7EB3D471-D052-4233-BB4D-E2C3C5F66DCC.jpeg

Ultimately consumers will vote with their feet (no pun intended) after Nike’s use of original kneeler Colin Kaepernick as its latest “Just do it.” campaign face. Arguing over who is right or wrong over this has become somewhat irrelevant. The kneeling debate is over 12 months old.

Nike is free to market how it chooses but must bear full responsibility for the firestorm it creates for itself. There is no doubt the social media impact will be huge and the marketing department might wax lyrical at the attention gained all it wants but the question is will the majority of it be positive? Virtue signaling for corporates is a dangerous game. More often than not it backfires.

CM has always held that corporations should stay out of politics because as much as they might profess a united face on certain issues, there is no way they speak on behalf of all those that work for them. The risk is creating an unfair working environment to those who do not wish to participate in the manner the corporate desires, even if they might privately agree. Coercing staff to openly tow the party line is tantamount to making them slaves if forced against their will for fear of repercussions in the workplace.

Don’t think for a second it doesn’t happen. Think of the same sex marriage (SSM) debate. If you had a rainbow flag screen saver you would have been cheered by the internal apparatchiks. Had you a “Vote NO for SSM” screen saver it is likely you would have been hauled in front of your manager and HR to explain your inappropriate workplace behaviour. The matter was a vote of democracy. What place is it for corporates to enforce one type of opinion on changes to the Marriage Act? Let’s not forget the results of the 2011 Census where 0.03% of the population identified with being husband and wife in a same sex relationship. Yes. 1,338 people only. All that fanfare for less than 1,400 people.

We are already seeing people in the US burn Nike products to protest the company’s move.

4F2A07F8-BC36-4AB6-8CDE-DCE3E822DAD3.jpeg

In much the same vein as Democrat Party activists boycotting In-N-Out burgers for donating to the GOP, there is no real sense in die-hard NFL fans pushing to #boycottNike. What is the obsession with boycotts? Surely disgruntled fans can make up their own minds whether they’ll choose to buy Nike products or not. It is just more of the oppression obsession.

Nike will ultimately survive. The NFL has already seen ratings take a proper beating. The question is does this help? Probably not but Nike want to make a statement.

Knee jerk reactions where people burn football jerseys, season tickets, Superbowl pennants or Nike sneakers have become less and less about the subject protested about (Black Lives Matter) but more about people getting sick and tired of political correctness and social justice rammed down their throats on an almost daily basis. Even Buzz Aldrin is sick of the politically correct overtones in ‘First Man’ that went out of its way to delete scenes of an epic moment in America’s history – planting an American flag on the moon. Don’t forget Buzz punched a reporter who disparaged him in public. He said he is a “proud American

Sadly, many Americans feel their patriotism is under fire. That they should feel guilty for displaying Old Glory outside their homes. Maybe those loyal fans want to go and watch a NFL match to leave the financial, relationship, work, marital stresses behind. They pay money to unwind, not have political messaging paraded in front of them. Even if they think Black Lives Matter is a worthy cause, kneeling every match won’t make it sink in any deeper but dilute the message, as has been displayed by making Kaepernick the poster child.

Not all NRA members are cold blooded murderers. Those people that voted Republican in the last election aren’t all white supremacist, bigoted, racist Nazis any more than all those people that voted Democrat aren’t all whining, virtue signaling liberals.

Open debate is what is needed. Kicking people out of restaurants through open harassment, burning runners or boycotting businesses won’t fix a thing. Listening and debating the issues based on logical reason is the only way forward.  The only thing worth boycotting is the boycotters themselves. Sadly the lesson is unlikely to be learnt.

XFL vs NFL

8832265D-3AA4-467F-9A72-FB1F3C84E21C.jpeg

See a need. Fill a need. While the kneeling saga continues to hit the revenues of NFL, WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon announced he is bringing the XFL back “to give the game of football back to the fans.”

In what is a pretty simple formula McMahon said, “People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained. We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time,”

Any player with a criminal record will not be eligible for the XFL. McMahon will own all the teams. He claims he isn’t doing it due to NFL troubles.

So the question is will players still be kneeling in NFL in 2020 if indeed there is a league to kneel at? Time will tell but know your customer suggests is an important recipe in making money.

NFL – seat prices at the back of the discount rack

8D973892-43C7-4648-80CC-152DB9BEBB65.jpeg

NFL has been off the main headlines recently. Interesting to see that seats for certain games are selling for as little as $3 each. Of course better games starring more popular teams show firmer (albeit deeply discounted) pricing but one can’t help but think this is a continuation of the backlash against the kneeling saga. Regardless of the views of the players, their employers (aka the fans) are evaluating them by their wallets. Seems like the message hasn’t got through. If they wish to continue to kneel deep discounts which incorporate the social cost to the fan have to be provided until the ultimate financial impact to the players is reached.

Well done Senator Leyonhjelm for inviting Milo to Parliament

8818DCD7-CFFB-4221-AA89-AEA1DB52AEE8.jpeg

Full marks to Senator David Leyonhjelm for inviting Milo Yiannopolous to Parliament House. Despite the Greens Party leader Senator Richard Di Natale doing his best to ban him as a hate preacher, bigot, racist etc etc Milo had a pretty full audience. It is not whether one agrees with what he says but it is important to let any ideas out in the marketplace of free speech and debate the issues rather than shut them down. Indeed one would hope that Di Natale has such a strong case he could pin the Armani suited Milo’s arguments in person. That’s the thing. If Di Natale is convincing enough people will back his views on the sheer weight of  merit.

As an Australian citizen (even from afar) I watch the painful political correctness in the West that seems to turn a blind eye to almost anything that even remotely runs up against an identikit. We mustn’t offend this group or that group.

To be honest, as an example our government, in its quest to prevent on the fringe Islamophobia actually creates the environment for a worse time for Muslims. The majority of Muslims probably don’t care if we celebrate Christmas with trees in Martin Place but our political class decide to strip the tree of its significance in order to pander to something that just isn’t relevant. “Merry Christmas” is replaced with “Seasons Greetings.” In turn, some think that Muslims are behind it which means governments push for “hate speech laws” to cover up for their own stupidity and short-sightedness. Celebrate Australian traditions. Just like Aborigines seeking umbrage over statues of Cook and Phillip – the overwhelming majority don’t care but our politicians are all too busy trying to cater to another minority whose arguments and grievances are usually trivial to say the least.

Even the lunatic torch and swastika flag bearers in Charlottesville should be able to protest. Sunlight (torchlight) is the best disinfectant. Let these people go on parade for all to see. One can see for themselves they have no platform. The KKK (the former militia of the Democratic Party) has dwindled from 4mn members to less than 6,000. Out of a population of 330mn people they represent less than 0.02% of the population.

Probably some of the best footage of ‘like minds thanks to open platforms’ came when a BLM protest was given time on a stage at a Trump supporters event. BLM were told you’ve got several minutes and if you don’t like it then tough!

Still some in the political class feel the need to introduce all manner of laws to cover up their own weakness. At least some voices in parliament are not afraid to speak out and defend free speech. So credit to Senator Leyonhjelm for encouraging Milo to talk to our lawmakers.

It is not whether one thinks Milo is palatable (although a sellout tour in Australia is indicative) it is that he has a view. We don’t have to agree with it but again the left who try to shut him down will find far more backers of their cause if they combat him with concise and constructive arguments based on facts and truths. Said with authority and authenticity and watchMilo’s support wane. Indeed shutting him down actually helps Milo sell more tickets so it ends up being an own goal.

It really makes me want to join the political class in Australia to shore up the tide that is flowing toward feeble policy, further inaction and muzzling what they’re too gutless to admit. I want peace and harmony as much as the next person but it doesn’t come about by silencing dissenting voices. Embracing those voices is a tenet of democracy. Perhaps if the country was being run competently then people like Milo would be a footnote rather than front page.