Sports apparel giant Nike has restrained from making any comments on Kyrie Irving’s anti-vaccination stance so far. The company seems to have adopted a wait and watch strategy.
Nets star Kyrie Irving’s anti-vaccination stand is getting controversial with the passing of each day. Some of the major cities in the USA have come up with a strict mandate regarding COVID-19 vaccination. These cities include New York and San Francisco that would not allow their players to practice or play home games if not vaccinated.
According to reports, Irving remains adamant about not getting the vaccine. The former champion’s decision has led to heavy criticism from personalities in all walks of life. NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar publicly despised his decision, with New York mayor Bill de Blasio following suit.
However, sports company Nike, with whom Irving holds a multimillion-dollar contract, has remained silent on the issue. Earlier this year, Irving had publicly dismissed the new edition of his shoes with the company, calling them trash. However, Irving would backtrack from his statements.
In what many believe, Nike’s no comments stand so far has a lot to do with it being a commercial decision. The company is taking its chances, knowing Irving’s unpredictable nature.
Analyzing Nike’s wait and watch strategy in light of their athlete Kyrie Irving’s anti-vaccination stand.
Recently, Nike had announced that all its US-based employees would need to be vaccinated. Ricardo Fort, former VP of global sports and entertainment partnerships at Coca-Cola, spoke about Nike giving mixed signals.
“If Nike and other sponsors believe that vaccines are important and everyone should get them, they should say the same about their athletes. I don’t see a reason for having two different approaches.”
Via: Time Magazine
The Brooklyn Nets play their first game at Barclays Center on 24th October. Thus Nike has time by its side, hoping Irving may get his dose of vaccination soon. The company has a lot riding on the 7x All-Star’s signature shoes Kyrie 8.
However, the situation could go either way if Irving decided to sit out during the season.
“Look, their business is built on selling sneakers and apparel,” says Scott Rosner, a sports consultant and academic director of Columbia University’s sports management program. “There’s a social justice component of what they do. But that’s not what drives their business and their growth.”
Via: Time Magazine
The companies new stance comes as a surprise as that was not the case earlier. A case in point being NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s social justice campaign.
Nike’s ways of functioning do come across as hypocritical. However, knowing Irving’s unpredictable nature, they are taking their chances.