OK, Nike, pay up! You owe me big. Exactly how much, I can't
say, since I don't know the going rate for athletes and others who act as human
billboards for you. You know, those whose team uniforms, workout gear and other
garments display your swoosh brand symbol prominently.
I assume the swoosh-marked college athletes are not paid
openly, lest they lose their amateur status, although their colleges, while
profiting from the athletes' play and display of the swoosh and other brand
symbols, of course face no penalties for doing so.
My days as an athlete are long gone and, sad to say, there
were no swoosh contracts back in those days. But now, I think, it's time for me
to collect a little.You see, I
was recently quite ill, and on leaving the hospital was under strict orders to
go easy and, among other things, to wear light, loose fitting clothing.No tight
jeans and such.
But sweatpants, they'd be perfect. So I popped into by
favorite clothing establishment and grabbed a pair of sweatpants off the rack
without bothering to check anything but the size. Didn't even try them on.
Oh, but when I got the pants home. The shock, the shock.
There it was on the side of the left leg, the dreaded swoosh for all the world
to see on my daily doctor-prescribed walks and other sweatpants-clad forays
into the community. I had become a walking billboard for Nike.
So where's my endorsement money, Nike? My pay. I'm working
for you, after all. Do I have to bring in a union to get me what I 'm owed? I'm
not asking for much, just whatever you're paying other human billboards. I'm
not exactly a celebrity, but I am known rather well . . . and highly regarded,
I like to believe, in some parts of my community. Seeing me wearing the swoosh
might influence some of my neighbors to rush out and buy their own Nike gear.
But realistically, I must tell you it's not likely I'll get
paid for my valuable work on behalf of Nike. Big time athletes are paid, and
paid well for wearing and endorsing the swoosh. But not us plain folks who wear
the Nike brand.We need a union to
demand decent pay . . . to demand decent treatment.
That's it, a union to demand decent treatment for all who
wear the Nike brand . . . plus the money they should be owed by Nike for doing
so. There are, of course, unions of professional athletes. But their concern,
as I guess it should be, is for their members. We need to form a union of our
own to also get the big bucks for wearing the swoosh.
And while we're at it, we could use the leverage of our
union to effectively demand much better treatment for the workers in Nike
sweatshops in poor countries who produce most of the swoosh brand stuff.Nor
should we forget the celebrity
athletes whose huge pay for endorsement of Nike products drives up the price we
ordinary folks have to pay for sweatpants and other gear that the celebrities
endorse only because they are paid to endorse them.
It's highly doubtful that any of our spoiled, hugely paid
athletes would readily agree to share their endorsement money with lesser-paid
citizens. But with a union, who knows? Professional athletes have their own
powerful unions, so why don't their unions take up the cause of unpaid Nike
That's one of the basic principles of unionism, unions
seeing that their members get a fair share and helping members of other unions
get their fair share. You know, solidarity and all that.
So, swoosh wearers, unite! Unionize! We have nothing to lose
but our swooshes!