Athletes foul out with advertising choices
Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 23:10
We feed athletes' abilities to make millions playing sports. Parents pay for their kids to be on athletic teams to encourage the same behavior when it's ‘just for fun.' Most times, the consumer plays the largest role in exalting athletes' lives off the field.
Obviously, parents can preach to their children and point out wrong deeds when, say, a pro golfer sleeps with half the red-light district, or when an NFL player starts a fight in a nightclub.
We can also teach them the "in the moment" aspects of sports that may cause a famous footballer to head butt another player in the chest. But what about the subtle things?
I was watching the NBA Finals this summer and a McDonalds commercial came on. In the commercial, two of the top five popular players in the NBA, LeBron James and Dwight Howard, were competing over a Big Mac — which is one of the top five worst things on the fast-food menu.
Now obviously, these athletes can handle the calories and fat of McDonalds,—which I'm sure they do from time to time. But what about kids who idolize these guys?
I know that not every kid out there is not so impressionable that they'll go out and get a Big Mac just because their favorite basketball players eat them, but it definitely sheds a different light on fast food.
In a nation where almost 15 percent of our children are obese, and adult obesity and cardiovascular disease is rampant, shouldn't these athletes think twice before endorsing junk food?
I know, I know, I'm being hyperbolic. But we have to juxtapose athletes and their influence. Most kids aren't going to think twice before they request a Big Mac for dinner because the most famous athlete in the country enjoys them.
Over the summer, I was getting ready to play basketball with my friend and his brothers. One of them was a 10-year-old. As we were getting ready to face the 104- degree Florida humidity and head to the outdoor courts, the 10-year-old brother grabbed a couple Oreos and shoved them in his mouth. I mentioned to him that Oreo cookies are not good for him, especially right before physical activity in the hot sun.
His response was, "But Peyton Manning is on the carton." This is when I realized what a problem this truly is.
Not only are these famous faces making their way into advertisements and onto the actual boxes and packaging, but now kids apparently think that it's proper food to eat before athletic activity.
When it comes to anything that you put into your body, professional athletes should stick to Gatorade (not really, though, it's actually just soda without carbonization), protein, multivitamins or health foods.
Although, kids, when it comes to Charles Barkley endorsing Taco Bell, you can count on looking that big one day.