Home

Athletes Walk Fine Line Between Being Social Activist And Successful Product Endorser

Athletes Walk Fine Line Between Being Social Activist And Successful Product Endorser

By Eric Fisher, Staff Writer

Published

Rubin (l) and Tatum both believe athletes have the right to be politically active
The spirited debate over whether social activism harms or helps athletes was in display during the opening panel of the ’17 CAA World Congress of Sports. Adidas Group North American President Mark King argued it will ultimately harm the ability of many athletes to obtain endorsement deals. He said, "We try to not be in social issues, though we are moving toward that because we have to. But we certainly won’t associate with athletes that are going to cause our brand something we don’t represent and we don’t stand for.” Fanatics Chair Michael Rubin said elite athletes such as Cavaliers F LeBron James can safely be politically active, but such stances are much more dangerous for rank-and-file players. “I don’t think [the activism] is going to increase,” Rubin said. “And the reason I don’t think it’s going to increase is because Colin Kaepernick is not someone people want to hire right now. He’s an OK quarterback, but he’s someone people are saying, they don’t want the aggravation that comes with it. … Tom Brady can do that. Chris Paul can do that. Dwyane Wade can do that. Colin Kaepernick can’t do that. Can the 10 best athletes per sport say whatever they want? Absolutely. But…it can backfire for the majority of athletes.”

OPPOSING VIEW: CAA Sports co-Head Michael Levine offered a vigorous counter argument, saying, “I can’t disagree any more with these two guys.” Levine: “When you talk about the attention and respect given a few days ago to Jackie Robinson and the path he trailblazed, what Billie Jean King did for women, what Muhammad Ali did by taking an unpopular stand -- here we are 50 years later acknowledging he’s one of the most impactful athletes of all time -- I just think that our guys get it and our guys want to have that kind of impact.” Added NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Mark Tatum, "As a sports league, you have to create an environment where that’s OK and for a player to understand they have a platform, they have a voice, and they can make a difference. That’s what we try to communicate to our players.” 

Classified Advertisements

Home