Archive for the ‘National sports’ Category

A little anger for the swoosh

October 1, 2009

Michael Vick

Don’t know if you guys saw this, but Michael Vick is back in the Nike fold.

Now, they are being careful to say he’s not on the payroll, but giving him free gear as they do many other athletes.

You might be asking yourself what this story might be doing here on the youth sports blog.

Honestly, this is the first place I thought of when I heard the story.

First, let me say that there is no bigger supporter of Vick’s right to return to the National Football League than I. The man was convicted of horrible crimes, sure, but he went to prison.

His debt to society, minus his probation, is paid in full.

I’m glad former Colts coach and all around good guy Tony Dungy decided to step in and mentor Vick. And, as odd as it was, I think the NFL’s handling of the scenario was pretty good as well.

He’s been in Philadelphia for a couple of months now, and he got his first game action last week in an easy win over the Kansas City Chiefs. 

But Nike signing him up to help sell shoes and apparel – without comment and through his agent and not an official press release, I might add – is shameless.

I realize that the man has fans who, despite what he has done, adore him and can’t wait to run out and get a Eagle No. 7 jersey. There is a segment of the population that views dog fighting as comparable to hunting or horse racing.

A ludicrous line of thinking, by the way.

And those people are happy this morning.

The rest of us, the ones raising kids, shouldn’t be.

Athletes, with a nod to Charles Barkley’s famous statement to the contrary, are role models. And Nike is the most recognizable brand of athletic gear in the world.

So, just to sum it all up, what you have here is a company that topped $18 million billion in revenue last year allowing a convicted felon to sell my seven year old tennis shoes.

It’s Nike president Phil Knight’s choice to have the guy he wants to market his products, and I certainly don’t blame Vick, a man still trying to satisfy a judge in bankruptcy court for cashing the check.

But those two things don’t make it right.

As parents, leaders, teachers, athletes and adults, we have a responsibility to our children to mentor and teach our children as they travel the long, bumpy road to adulthood.

Having Michael Vick on TV or in the sports section selling a line of sneakers is a detour off that street.

I’m not calling for a boycott of Nike, as some are. But if you’re standing in the shoe aisle at Dick’s, trying to decide between Nike and, say, Reebok, do me a favor.

Consider this story as a tie-breaking vote.

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To the extreme?

May 19, 2008

Maybe you’ve seen this story:

http://wbztv.com/local/little.league.benched.2.724978.html

The skinny is that a mom was scheduled to work the concession stand. She had to work and couldn’t show. So the league benched her son for two games as punishment.

This is just silly.

I totally understand the importance of running a concession stand. I know it helps to fund league operations. I get needing parents to help staff it. Sure, makes perfect sense.

Where you lose me is benching a seven year old because the mom missed her shift.

The concept of telling a seven year old that he can’t play because his mom had to work and couldn’t sell Skittles at the ballpark is sheer lunacy.

Fine her. Make her work two shifts to make up for it. Charge her double to sign her kid up next year. Anything but putting the kid on the pine.

Surely there was a better solution out there…