Between his divorce with Elin Nordegren and the endorsements that dropped him, it's safe to say Tiger Woods is probably down a few bucks. I mean, Tiger, like many athletes, made a lot of money from endorsements -- around $110 million a year, if you're counting. His deals with Gillette, Gatorade, and Nike helped make him a very, very rich man. And when stuff hit the fan, and woman after woman kept coming forward about their affairs with him, we all watched as company after company dropped him. Except Nike.
Were they empathetic of Tiger? Or do they just not really give a crap about the moral character of the athletes who endorse them? Judging by their roster, I'm going to have to go with the latter. And I support that.
Okay, so the fact that they kept Tiger around (at $30 million a year) speaks volumes, but who else are they supporting?
- Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite the fact that he was accused of sexually harassing a woman at a Lake Tahoe hotel, as well as raping another woman in Georgia, Nike stuck by him, paying him $1 million a year. He was dropped by Big Ben's Beef Jerky, though. (Really?)
- Wayne Rooney, the British soccer player who slept with a prostitute while his pregnant wife was sleeping. Nike didn't think there was cause to drop him and kept him around for endorsements at $1 million a year.
- Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers guard. During his whole "being accused of rape" thing, Nike stuck by the basketball player -- as well as his fans.
The only person Nike ever "dropped" was Michael Vick after dog-fighting. And it's probably because he went to jail. Nike, why do you love dirtbags so much? Or is it that people just don't care? I know I don't.
See, if I was at the store and needed a new pair of gym shoes, I wouldn't not buy a pair of Nikes because Tiger represents them. I'm not going to let his philandering ways affect my time on the treadmill! And if Gatorade were still repping him, I'd have no problem downing a bottle of the stuff afterwards! It doesn't affect me!
And that's probably how a lot of people think. And Nike knows this. So, why would they drop him? He's only making them more money. Why should athletes dictate the everyday details of our lives? And let's be real, the other companies only dropped him so they looked like they cared. I kinda like Nike's "we don't give a crap what you think" attitude. However, if they kept Michael Vick, I wouldn't support them. 'Cause I love me some dogs.
What do you think of Nike's support of Tiger and other athletes?
Image via familymwr/Flickr