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sartrista7
Jul 25th, 2002, 02:53 PM
Does anyone else feel slightly disturbed at the extent to which multinational corporations and their brands have taken over the sport? When I was at Wimbledon this year, it seemed like 99% of the players had that Nike swoosh on their outfits, and certainly most top players are sponsored by a big-name brand. There have been several threads recently about players using their status to be activists, most notably Martina Navratilova, and also Serena Williams' boycott of the Hilton Head tournament. Yet, despite the fact that multinational corporations are not only widespread abusers of workers' rights etc., but are also intent on manipulating (you could even say 'brainwashing') consumer desires (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, go away and read anything by Naomi Klein, George Monbiot or Noreena Hertz), very few - indeed, no - players have even gone anywhere near this subject. Quite clearly this is because they owe a lot to their sponsors, who have made them very rich and very famous people (and in some cases successful as well).

But. Last year I'm sure everyone noticed Ashley Harkleroad's outfit at the US Open, but did anyone notice how the dress was not her own choice? It's quite one thing for an individual - even an individual 16-yr-old girl - to want to portray herself as a sex object; it's quite another for a corporation to push a 16-year-old into that mould because they think it will bring THEM financial gain. And 'less marketable' players lose out: Nike initially refused to sponsor Yevgeny Kafelnikov because 'they didn't know what he stood for' (a completely ignorant thing to say, incidentally; since when has it been necessary for a complex individual to simplify themselves, to reduce themselves to an easily sellable faux-personality?).

The branding of sport is not only harmful to the sport itself - it disturbs me to see the sport I love taken over by corporations I hate - but also to its spectators, who are completely brainwashed by the corporations - 'hey, my favourite player wears Nike/Reebok/adidas, I'll buy that overpriced gear as well to be like them' - and, as illustrated above, some of its players. Well, look at Anna Kournikova as well.

Thoughts?

Raisin
Jul 25th, 2002, 03:25 PM
I understand what you're talking about Sartrista, but what do expect the athletes to do? Bite the hand that feeds them?:mad:

sartrista7
Jul 25th, 2002, 04:16 PM
Obviously it would be biting the hand that feeds them if any player made a stand - or even a comment - and those starting out on the circuit need financial help however they can get it (and there again this acts against the sport: players considered more 'marketable' - Maria Sharapova and Ashley Harkleroad for example - are given infinitely more help, via sponsorships and wild cards, than those, for whatever reason - not pretty enough, from an obscure country, not consideed as marketable).

But I do feel that top players have enough of a profile - and more than enough money, they don't need to worry about financial help - for any sort of condemnation of, for example, Nike's treatment of Third World workers to be pretty effective. They might get dropped, but all have so much support amongst the public that it will be the corporations who look like the bad guys.

Williams Rulez
Jul 26th, 2002, 09:17 AM
But seriously, I think players themselves cannot do anything with boycotts, these companies have in their control, too many atheletes and they've influenced the consumers so much, I doubt that boycotts are gonna have much effect. Futhermore, if they make a deflamatory remark, they might very well have the company take a legal action against them. It certainly takes a lot of guts to throw away your income to fight for a cause. It would be great to see some one do that, but since I doubt any one is going to do that, I say, leave it to the human rights groups.

Sam L
Jul 26th, 2002, 03:41 PM
I'm very happy that Serena's most likely going to be snubbing Nike. :p to Phil Knight! LOL

Imagine, the HOTTEST female tennis player in the world snubs an American sporting giant for a German one, Puma, whom she has been with through thick & thin :D

sartrista7
Jul 26th, 2002, 07:21 PM
Serena's snubbing Nike? Excellent stuff! That's the sort of action I mean... Puma's also a brand name, but Nike has been one of the worst offenders in past years. Players like Serena can afford to pick and choose their sponsors... it's not as if they're begging for someone to support them, more like the other way around. It's good to see she's done this.

sartrista7
Nov 4th, 2002, 06:23 PM
DAWN. Look at this thread, and READ the words. And note too that I was praising Serena for her stand here.

tennischick
Nov 5th, 2002, 12:04 AM
sartrista7:
lovely intial post raising intersting questions/issues. but i wonder how many players are as informed and enlightened as you assume them to be? yes Ashley was made to look like a 16 year old slut, but she has parents that are supposed to protect her from being exploited. the truth is however that most 16 year olds today buy completely into media manipulation, as do their parents, hence Serena's cat-suit and Venus' peek-a-boo breast display at the AO a couple of years ago. not only did they have to agree to be exploited, but their parents had to have agreed as well.

in response, most people compartmentalize these experiences. it's not really me out there that is being exploited (or sexploited as the case may be), it's just an image of me. the real me i protect and keep private.

that's called rationalization. it's a defence that intelligent people use to allow them to do things they really shouldn't.

at heart your question has a moral center. but how many players have the courage to take the kind of moral stance you describe? and how many of them even understand the more destructive implications of their endorsements? how many of us do?

to illustrate the point -- look at the # of responses this thread has attracted and compare it with any of the shrill defenses of why it is OK for the Sisters to endorse MacDonalds. doesn't that itself describe the problem???

sartrista7
Nov 5th, 2002, 12:11 AM
tennischick: thanks for the response. Yes, unfortunately everything in your post is true. But if you're going to be an activist you've got to hope that there are some players out there who are informed and enlightened, or who have the courage to take a stand against certain companies. I don't have a problem with the sex image per se: Anna K and Serena are clearly fine with it as individuals. I just object to any sort of image which doesn't stem from the player, but from a faceless corporation.

It's good to see Justine Henin stick with Le Coq Sportive, actually, someone mentioned it in the McDonald's thread. That's an example of what an athlete can do. I swear I'll never criticise her outfits again.

tennischick
Nov 5th, 2002, 12:24 AM
thanks for letting me know about Justine. i haven't returned to that thread so i wasn't aware. now i too will proudly support her. go Justine!!!!! :bounce:

Rocketta
Nov 5th, 2002, 12:37 AM
exactly why would the people who defended V & S choice post anything in here when they are not the ones who have a problem with it? Unless you feel every thread should be an argument?

tennischick
Nov 5th, 2002, 12:41 AM
post where you wish Rocketta. i wasn't trying to dictate your preferences or anyone else's. just pointing out possible implications and trying to make a comparative point which you have clearly missed. then again perhaps the communication failure was my own. either way, there is no need to get defensive. who knows, you may very well be the enlightened one and i am quite possibly the uninformed idiot in this scenario.

Rocketta
Nov 5th, 2002, 12:58 AM
Originally posted by tennischick
post where you wish Rocketta. i wasn't trying to dictate your preferences or anyone else's. just pointing out possible implications and trying to make a comparative point which you have clearly missed. then again perhaps the communication failure was my own. either way, there is no need to get defensive. who knows, you may very well be the enlightened one and i am quite possibly the uninformed idiot in this scenario.

I didn't say it was either. Just if this is a discussion about the ills of the corporate world why look for posters to come and start arguing about it? Why not be happy that the thread had so far stayed argument free? Also, why did you call out the people who posted in the McDonald's thread? I assume this thread is aimed at everyone who wants to discuss this issue not just the people who posted in the McDonald's thread. That was my point. I'm sure everyone who wants to discuss this issue more will contribute.

Why try to compare the two threads? This thread has nothing to do with other one. Maybe people will provide you with the "shrill" defenses that you're comparing later on. I don't know. I just don't get the need to drag the same argument into a new thread that's all. Nothing more nothing less.

tennischick
Nov 5th, 2002, 01:06 AM
i wasn't looking for an argument. i never used that word at any point (check back if u don't believe me...) so i'm not sure where you got that idea from, honestly.

i did use the word "respond" however. i was indeed comparing the number of "responses" -- nothing else.

threads are compared all the time. i'm not sure what's so evil about that. then again you didn't use the word "evil" did you?

of course you're doing a nice job of working yourself into an "argument" that i have neither the time nor the inclination for. i enjoy a good, healthy, vibrant discussion, not a pointless "argument". sorry if you missed this.

and peace out Rocketta.

Rocketta
Nov 5th, 2002, 01:12 AM
Originally posted by tennischick
i wasn't looking for an argument. i never used that word at any point (check back if u don't believe me...) so i'm not sure where you got that idea from, honestly.

i did use the word "respond" however. i was indeed comparing the number of "responses" -- nothing else.

threads are compared all the time. i'm not sure what's so evil about that. then again you didn't use the word "evil" did you?

of course you're doing a nice job of working yourself into an "argument" that i have neither the time nor the inclination for. i enjoy a good, healthy, vibrant discussion, not a pointless "argument". sorry if you missed this.

and peace out Rocketta.

Actually you were comparing the number of "shrill" responses but that is a minor detail or is it?

sartrista7
Nov 5th, 2002, 01:21 AM
Rocketta, the function of this board is to debate. This wasn't meant to be a thread for like-minded people to complain about the corporate world. It's meant to be somewhere that gives a voice to both sides of the argument. I say that tennis is becoming too corporatised for x reasons etc. Someone else says 'no it's not', or 'it doesn't matter because...'. You see?

Berlin_Calling
Nov 5th, 2002, 01:39 AM
Im guilty of being a Nike freal :o. But the better thing is that Justine dropped Nike last year and then turned to Le Coq Sportif!