Archive for the ‘General Sports’ Category

Sexy Sells

By: Nate Douglas

Four years ago, Michael Vick pleaded guilty to pitting dogs against each other.  In a country where puppies in a basket make up 53% of “Get Well” Hallmark card covers, this was not cool. Nike claimed, “We hold our spokespersons to the  highest of standards,” and promptly cut Vick  from being one of their athlete representatives.  Today,  however, Nike announced they were re-  signing Vick to a new endorsement deal.

Vick was quick to confess his sins when he came  out of the clink.  He did his token generic  services to humanity and under the careful (yet pleased) supervision of PETA, he adopted a  Scottish Terrier from the pound and named him  Sparky.  The NFL season started, Kevin Kolb was  concussed, and Vick started picking apart  opposing defenses like a 6-year old and a  booger.  Vick was back on the radar, putting up  numbers that would include him in the NFL  MVP conversation.  Less than a year later, Nike, suffering from short-term memory loss, signed him to a lucrative new deal because apparently he is now a spokesperson of high standards.

Nike’s smart.  Focus groups were solicited for feedback on a move such as this, and obviously the people they polled approved of such a move.  While some of the general public is of the “forgive and forget” mindset, most don’t really care.  Why?  Because we’re part of a culture that (for the most part) is pretty shallow.  McDonalds is our best selling restaurant chain, most of us drink Miller/Coors/Bud lite, and who cares if Just Go With It has a story that sucks, it prominently features Brooklyn Decker coming out of the ocean in slow motion.

We’ve seen Vick’s story in other athletes.  Kobe Bryant cheats on his wife and suffers through rape allegations.  Ben Roethlisberger really likes to party.  Alex Rodriguez admittedly shot up steroids, posed in front of a mirror and is generally just pig-headed.  LeBron got his own tv show, told Cleveland ‘screw you’ and then the next day at a rally told the other 29 NBA teams, ‘we’re gonna screw you the next eight years, too!’

But for our wading-pool culture, all of this doesn’t matter.  In the sports-world, the sexy athlete sells.  Instead of babes…it’s championships, big numbers and dunks.  Never mind the moral fiber of the athlete.  This makes us an easy people for the Nikes of the world to cater to with our taste.

Nate Douglas lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife and 10-month son.  While his day job is sorting through the dirty legal details of the oil and gas industry, his night job is a sports Jack Bauer.  So he founded the Sports Smithy, as well as, a unique fantasy sports aggregating web-site.  You can follow him on Twitter- @NateDouglas34.