I’ve been thinking a lot about Colin Kaepernick as Nike’s new spokesperson.
My first thought was that Nike has the right to choose any spokesperson they want. I might have picked someone else, but they went with Colin Kaepernick, and they get to live with that decision. The immediate impact was both a 30% boost in sales, as well as the complete collapse of what economists and accountants call ‘goodwill,’ which is a monetary measure for the strength of a brand. Nike’s goodwill collapsed when they picked Kaepernick. And that was their choice. Now they get to live with it.
That was my thought before Serena Williams melted down at the US Open, but then while watching the US Open Female Finals, I realized that Serena, like Colin Kaepernick, was doing something much worse than I had previously understood.
Let’s look at what happened with Serena Williams.
First, Serena Williams’ coach was called for coaching, and Serena Williams was given a warning.
In fairness to Serena Williams’ coach, coaching on the court is a common practice – as is a pitcher using pine tar to get just a little more spin on the ball. Anyone from Detroit, however, may remember Kenny Rogers getting in trouble for using pine tar in the 2006 World Series. Yes – everyone does it, and yet, when it is obvious enough that the umpire sees someone doing it, the umpire is required to act. It is against the rules for pitchers to use foreign substances on the ball.
Serena Williams’ coach was using obvious hand signals, and the umpire saw it. The umpire was required to act.
Both Kenny Rogers and Serena Williams received warnings.
Kenny Rogers washed his hands to remove the pine tar that was clearly visible on his catching hand, and then continued pitching – with pitches that were even better than what he had been throwing before. Kenny Rogers responded by stepping up his game.
Serena Williams responded to a very similar incident by coming emotionally unglued. She cried, ripped into the umpire every time she approached the net, and slammed her racket into the ground.
Slamming her racket into the ground was against the rules. She was penalized, and by USTA rules, the second penalty is a point.
Serena still did not watch her behavior. After repeatedly being berated, the umpire eventually ruled another violation, this time for verbal abuse. By rule, the third violation costs a game.
Men sometimes say worse things than anything Serena Williams said, and sometimes don’t even get a warning for it. That’s true, but most tennis players calm down at some point, whereas Serena Williams kept going back to the Umpire, over and over again, with insults that got worse each time she approached. At some point, enough was enough. Serena earned her third violation…
Naomi Osaka, incidentally, thoroughly destroyed Serena Williams in the first set, using shot placement to make Williams run all over the court, and then making Williams pay whenever she was forced out of position. Osaka was on fire. Now, I am not going to say that Osaka is a better tennis player overall than is Serena Williams, but on that day, Osaka was the best player on the court.
After losing the first set 6-2, Serena had two quick double faults; her serve was failing her. It looked like Naomi Osaka was going to make easy work of Serena Williams to win the second set, and with it, the tournament.
This is where my comparison to Kaepernick comes in. Kaepernick did not kneel for the National Anthem while he was the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. As a starter in 2016, Kaepernick posted the worst quarterback numbers in the league – he was quite literally the worst starting quarterback in the NFL that year, and was benched accordingly. Only after being benched did Kaepernick take a knee for the National Anthem. In taking a knee, Kaepernick transformed himself from being a failure, into being a victim. Apparently, Kaepernick would rather be a victim than a failure…
Serena Williams really did break down on the court. I think she will win more championships before she is finished, but on the final day of the US Open, she was getting destroyed when she lost both her temper, and her composure. Serena Williams responded by making the tournament about sexism, transforming herself from failure (at least as far as that tournament went), to victim, Colin Kaepernick having already provided a blueprint. As with Kaepernick, Serena found it better to be a victim than to be a failure.
By taking Kaepernick as it’s new spokesperson, Nike has become the brand for failure, as well as the brand for those who spin failure into victimhood. The slogan should be, “Just do it! Poorly! And then blame someone else!”
In Serena’s case, she’ll be back in the next tournament, and will be the favorite to win. Colin Kaepernick has played his last game as a professional football player, and he has no one but himself to blame.
Another problem with Colon Kaepernick is that he has championed the causes of such people as Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara, and by doing so, has aligned himself politically with those men.
I posted recently about how Auschwitz was not only a testament to the past, but also a warning about the future – and a warning not only about racist totalitarianism, but about any form of totalitarianism that leads to mass murder. If you have not read that post, I urge you to do so, and then to remember that Che Guevara’s JOB was to commit mass murder. That is the kind of person Colin Kaepernick aligns himself with.
Colin Kaepernick would say that he is a spokesperson against oppression, and I can respect that. I could even stand with Colin Kaepernick, except that Colin Kaepernick is standing against oppression that is not occurring, while supporting actual cases of oppression, that are occurring in the United States, today. Colin Kaepernick is on the wrong side, and as such standing with Kaepernick is standing for oppression. I can’t get on board with that, though apparently Nike can.
My recent Auschwitz post was a warning about the kind of world Colin Kaepernick wants, and though Colin Kaepernick might not see it that way, if you support communism (as does Kaepernick), you support all that comes with it – including mas murder. Nike has now aligned themselves with that as well, so if you buy Nike, you are not only buying into the whole ‘I am a victim and not a failure’ mentality, but you are also supporting gulags, and mass murder.
Serena has made no such political affiliations, so while I hope she shows maturity and removes the cloud she has placed over Naomi Osaka’s championship, I also hope she wins the next major tournament. Serena Williams has done as much for women’s tennis as Tiger Woods has done for the game of golf, and I wish her well. Yes – she has a temper. Lots of people with that kind of competitive spirit do. But she needs to learn to take her losses as well as she takes her wins, and not to cry ‘victim.’
Colin Kaepernick has made a mockery of his career, turning himself into the poster boy of bad sportsmanship, and a symbol of the political ideology responsible for the murders of over 100 million people. Now Nike stands for the same things, and if you wear their products, so do you.
What do you say? Will you wear the swoosh, or does it start to bear too much resemblance to the swastika, and the hammer and sickle?
For me, I’ll buy other brands, not to boycott Nike, but because Nike has aligned themselves with things I cannot align myself with. Nike has allowed their swoosh to become a symbol of evil.
So be it. Nike did this by choice, and they shall suffer the consequences.
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