Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Under Armour, a Michael Phelps Sponsor, also sponsors Duck Dynasty! - Will USA swimming get dragged into this?

I had never watched an episode of Duck Dynasty till their bearded patriarch began shooting his mouth off in an issue of GQ Magazine. Therein were 12-ugly-quotes which I found to be crass, unmeasured and piously judgemental.

Duck Dynasty is an amazingly successful show which caters to 14.6-million viewers thereby generating incomprehensible amounts of money for its cable network A&E. This scripted show is ostensibly designed for affluent urbanites to laugh at Louisanna Hillbillies and the rural poor to adore.

One of the shows sponsors is Under Armour (UA) and they also sponsor USA Swimming's very own Michael Phelps. When Philip Robertson went of on his pious rant about gays and how alluring vagina's are, UA quickly pulled out a tired and disingenuous PR phrase to get them out of the proverbial "hot water." It went something like this:

The Advocate:
“The recent comments in the GQ article are not reflective of Under Armour’s beliefs and do not represent our point of view,” Under Armour told the Business Journal. “As a company, we are committed to diversity and inclusion and believe in treating everyone equally and with respect.” 
Duck Dynasty currently averages 14.6 million viewers and has become a merchandising empire – raking in more than $400 million in related retail sales – it seems unlikely that A&E, or the quack pack’s advertisers, will dump the most popular reality show of all time..." 

My rebuttal to that PR gem is, if you believe and are committed to diversity and inclusion and believe in treating everyone equally and with respect, then why are you paying people who don't? But then it gets worse; much worse.

Phillip Robertson, in 2009 suggested that men marry 15-16-year-old girls because it is the smart thing to do. Is the deep south actually that 3rd? - NO, it is not! But, pedophiles and their fellow "travelers" are. Young girls to these people are nothing more "sexbots and chefs" and their "men" are their "overlords."  See the video above.

This is absolutely unforgivable but let me "land this plane" quickly and explain why this suddenly has brought both Michael Phelps and USA Swimming into this mess.

It is my belief that Michael Phelps will be coming out with his own signature suit line via UA just like the deal Michael Jordan has with Nike. (Do you see where this plane is landing now?) If Phelps does do a signature line deal with UA he will suddenly have a "dog in the fight" and will have to defend his business unit that endorses a reality star that advises men to marry and sexualize 15-to-16-year-old girls.

What if UA wants to sponsor a USA Swimming event or the governing body itself? How will USA Swimming look trying to help UA sell swimsuits to 15-year-old girls when UA sponsors a pedophile talker like Philip Robertson?

The sex abuse scandals are not far behind USA Swimming (if at all) and this fiasco will be political fodder for GLADD and other groups to possibly talk about their policies and who they take money from.

Oh the tangled web we weave. Phelps should have stayed with Speedo or gone to Arena. More professional in nature, policy and branding.


Anonymous said...

I see this as an issue between Michael Phelps and Under Armour. How Mr. Phelps chooses to handle the situation will reflect on him alone, not necessarily on USA Swimming. I, for one, am tired of everything being about heterosexual vs. homosexual politics. Let's just let the swimmers swim, regardless of their political views.

That being said, engaging in an endorsement relationship with a clothing company like Under Armour is slightly different. Under Armour *is* a line of clothing products that are used quite a bit by law enforcement and the U.S. military...populations of individuals who tend to be conservative leaning in their politics.

Many people vote with their dollars and this situation will likely be no different. So I think that if Michael Phelps being sponsored by Under Armour (and their association with Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty) means that one will automatically assume that Mr. Phelps agrees with everything that Phil Robertson espouses, then by all means, do not purchase Under Armour products and do not support Michael Phelps.

Anonymous said...

Phelps is has a DUI and been caught on film illegally smoking weed. He should be happy anyone sponsors him.

Tony i think you need to lighten up. Some have different views than yours. Some value the Bible and what we think God has to say. But we all have to live by man's law and i don't see that Phil Robertson has broken the law. And you need to realize levity when its staring you in the face. Listen to the video again and here the comedy in his voice (you'd know it if you watched the show regularly) and the laughing going on with it. Be honest with yourself dude.

Anonymous said...

How far did you have to reach to come up with the Phelps/Duck Dynasty connection? Lighten up. You are creating something out of nothing.