May 21, 2019

Colin Kaepernick & the Evolving Role of the American Athlete

“From the outset, the reaction to Kaepernick’s involvement with the [Nike] campaign was explosive and unifying in all the ways that have come to define the parameters of reaction culture, online and off. Fissures split along ideological lines: there were people rightly fired up that a major corporation took a stand, however faintly, on such a palpably political issue. The hashtags #ImWithNike and #ImWithKap (or #ImWithKaep) expressed justifiable savor many supporters found in the brand’s devotion to Kaepernick’s crusade; celebrities like Ava DuVernay, Diddy, and Michael Kelly offered vocal shows of encouragement. Fueled by a kind of obtuse logic, there was also a noticeable mix of veterans and conservatives who called for a boycott of Nike apparel or posted videos of burning shoes. (Twitter being Twitter, these posts immediately set off a wave of comic re-enactments.)

Outspoken athletes have long been central to Nike’s corporate DNA. In its decades-long lifestylization of sports, they’ve teamed with controversy-courters like Andre Agassi and Michael Jordan—each of whom flouted their sport’s dress codes, with Nike’s help—firebrands like John McEnroe, and anchored their future to politically active and increasingly candid athletes such as LeBron James, who has readily shared his distaste for the president and who, this summer, opened a public school for underprivileged kids in his hometown of Akron. (It provides free meals and bicycles to students and guarantees a free tuition to the University of Akron for all graduates, among other stipulations.)

Nike’s teaming with Kaepernick, however, is of a new order; it translates as a strategic gamble—yesterday’s 3 percent dip in share prices will likely pale in comparison to the historic gains—but also as a patently unsafe one for a company that often hews toward universally safe moves (Even Nike’s beautifully-executed “Equality” campaign had a bit of an #AllLivesMatter veneer to it). Ours is a time of violent partisan disunity—and major brands electing to take a position feels like a natural, if necessary evolution.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The biggest topic in British political circles on Monday wasn’t the country’s impending departure from the European Union. It was milkshakes..."

"I often disagree with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., but I've been disturbed by the idea that he should be run out of the Republican Party just because he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses."

"The Icelandic band Hatari, whose members are quite vocal in their animosity towards Israel, held up Palestinian flags... Madonna, likewise, had two of her performers wear Israeli and Palestinian flags on their costumes."

"To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, I turn to movie critic Roger Ebert's old review of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (Trust me on this one.)"

"The money is already here—and has been for years. In the midst of a housing crisis, an injection of cash into the superheated real-estate market seems likely to cause an uptick in evictions and displacement."

"Parents concerned about YouTube debate whether to let their children have their own channels; some forbid it, others send them to summer camp..."

"‘I Had Completely Lost the Knack for Staying Alive..." Warmer weather brings daffodils, rhubarb at the farmer’s market — and, for some, despair."

"With his new book, Howard Stern proves that his rightful place is among the prophets and moral visionaries, not the ‘shock jocks’"

"I’m terrified of parenting in the anti-vaxxer age: Anti-vaccine propaganda isn’t just harmful to children. It threatens to erode our entire sense of community."

"...doctors are starting to think more about specific nutrients that feed tumor cells. That is, how what we eat affects how cancers grow..."

"...it represents an impressive achievement: a victory of humankind against the chaos that pervades the universe."

"If trends continue, in 20 years the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. The United States will see a continuing decline in overall numbers, with a growing observant Jewish population..."