Nike, Roethlisberger, Woods and Vick

-The Antlers, who ive been crushing on lately.  on an unrelated note, im real pumped to go see the National in May and the XX in June…  its shaping up to be a good auditory spring.

I know, the title of this post sounds like one of those “so a jewish doctor, a canadian priest and abe lincoln walk in to a bar…” jokes.  I heard a really interesting take on the whole Ben Roethlisberger scandal this morning on NPR.  Three mainstream athletes have had incredible public image nightmares in the past few years: Michael Vick with his dog-fighting ring, Tiger Woods and his harem of mistresses, and Ben Roethlisberger with his creepy bar bathroom antics.  From the three, only Michael Vick has been stripped of his Nike endorsement.

mike vick

mike vick

Granted, these are three very different cases.  Only Vick was technically found guilty of any illegal activities.  Tiger did not break the law, although his carousing was no doubt shameful.  Roethlisberger presents a very interesting grey area of the law.  Even though he was not prosecuted in the case, the charges were dropped due to mishandling by the police who first arrived at the scene, who were so star-struck that they asked to have their photos taken with Roethlisberger.  One officer has already resigned as a result.  Most people familiar with the case believe that had the police not botched the evidence, Roethlisberger would be found guilty of some form of sexual assault.

guys night out, am i right?

Nike adds an interesting wrinkle to the world of sports since it answers to no court or constitution; it may make decisions based strictly on circumstantial evidence or even just public image.  While Michael Vick was dropped like a hot potato, Tiger got much talked about self-aware commercial and Roethlisberger so far has escaped the Nike hand of justice.  Again, Vick was the only one who technically was found guilty of illegal activity, and Tiger is the most famous athlete alive.

I just find it interesting that America HATED Vick, mostly due to PETA backlash, for cruelty to animals, while Tiger has gotten away with (much less severe) cruelty to wife and kids and Roethlisberger took advantage of a drunk, 20 year old girl in a bar bathroom while his off-duty cop bodyguards kept her friends away.  To me, the order of “most disgusting behavior” goes Roethlisberger, Vick, Woods… but apparently Nike, and America sees it differently.  I wonder what this says about the pervasiveness of and desensitivity towards sexual misbehavior in America?  Maybe its like that old saying… “when one dog dies, its a tragedy.  when one thousand women are sexually assualted, its a statistic.”

America Cries!

America Cries!

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