Athlete Activist: Athletes Should “Just Do It” and Stand for Their Beliefs

Athlete Activist

Has Nike made it acceptable for athletes to be activists?  It appears so given, the deal that Nike made with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  Colin Kaepernick became an athlete activist when he courageously used his platform to protest police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem prior to games.  As a result, many believe Kaepernick was “blackballed” from the NFL for his actions. Since then he has become a polarizing political figure.  Kaepernick subsequently sued the NFL for colluding to keep him out of the league.

In spite of this, Nike, who is the NFL’s official apparel provider,  took a bold stand by making Kaepernick the face of their 30th Anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.  Nike’s announcement shocked the world and was met with much criticism.  It was the first time Kaepernick received mainstream corporate support for sacrificing his career to stand up for what he believed in.

The deal was unusual as historically athlete activists do not receive endorsements or any mainstream support. They are usually kicked out of their league and in many cases forgotten about.  This trend has left many athletes reluctant to speak on social justice issues.  Nike’s endorsement has the power to completely revolutionize the way athlete activist are viewed and the way they view the consequences of speaking out.

Athlete Activist Whose Careers Suffered for Activism

Kaepernick was not the first athlete activist to lose his career for taking a stand on social justice issues. Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing license for refusing the draft during the Vietnam War.  As a result, Ali missed out on valuable years of his prime.  In 1992 in the midst of the Rodney King case, NBA star Craig Hodges was ousted from the NBA for speaking out against racism in the NBA and America.  Similar to Kaepernick, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was ousted from the NBA for refusing to stand for the national anthem because it conflicted with his Muslim faith.  Former NFL defensive end Eric Reid has been ousted from the league arguably for kneeling alongside Kaepernick.

Due to the aforementioned and other similar stories, athlete activism was unfairly characterized as career suicide. Athlete Activism was unfairly considered bad for business, not only for the league but also for the athlete’s brand. As a result, athletes have been reluctant to speak out.  In light of this view, Kaepernick being ousted from the NFL came as no surprise.    Everyone thought Kaepernick had ruined his NFL career.  No one expected him ever to be able to land any kind of sports-related endorsement ever again.   This is why Nike’s endorsement of Kaepernick is so revolutionary. A major athletic apparel company has never endorsed a controversial athlete activist.  The endorsement has the power to completely change the view of athlete activism.

Is This a New Day for Athlete Activist?

Should other athletes be inspired by Nike’s endorsement and be unafraid to speak out?  Other athletes should be inspired by the endorsement.  Nike endorsed Kaepernick because they saw the value in his message. They saw the power in his resolve to stand for his beliefs at all cost.  This resonated with Nike and the message behind their slogan “Just Do It.”  “Just Do It” inspires people to do what they need to do to succeed at all cost.   That is just what Kaepernick did.  Nike would likely support other athletes who use their platforms to stand for their beliefs, no matter the consequences.

Nike also realized the economic incentive in endorsing Kaepernick.  They saw the overwhelming amount of people who supported Kaepernick and realized that he could be good for business.  Nike realized that the fan base the NFL ostracized was the fan base that it should cater to.  Other brands may see Nike’s success with Kaepernick and begin to endorse athlete activist as well.  It is a new day for athlete activist.  Athletes should be inspired by Nike’s endorsement of Kaepernick and stand up for their own beliefs.

Hot Takes: FitzMagic will fade, Urban Meyer Shut Up, GGG got robbed

Game 163

Unafraid Show is introducing a new weekly staple called HOT TAKES: These are hot takes and fun from the weekend. Send us your hot takes to and they may make the next week post. Do not read any further if you are easily offended.


1. Enough with the ties in the NFL. We can’t just be friends. You called me those names, and I wore those outfits. We CANNOT just be friends. How can the cities of Green Bay and Minnesota accept a tie? Raiders vs Rams would never accept a tie. They would do a duel in the parking lot, Carr vs. Goff. Someone would die, but someone would WIN.

2. I applaud Vonte Davis for retiring at halftime of Bills game. Teams cut, release, and bench players (Bill Belichick/Malcolm Bulter) without notice. They don’t care about the precarious positions it put families, relationships, or friends in. So, why should I feel bad for the team? I shouldn’t and don’t. But it does suck for his teammates.

Donald Trump is calling this a win. Two weeks ago Davis would have retired during the anthem; now he did it in the locker room instead.

3. The Buffalo Bills are bad, but the Arizona Cardinals are worse.

4. Don’t expect this Ryan Fitzpatrick magic to last if he is named the starter. Every time he is the backup he plays excellent, but when he’s named the starter, it all falls apart. I love the FitzMagic outfit though.

5. Jaguars > Patriots, even when the playoffs come this year.

6. The NFL is smart. They got NFL fans are more mad about the roughing the passer calls than players kneeling.

Sidenote: what was Clay Matthews supposed to do, ask him to fall or lay a pad down for Kirk Cousins before the hit?

7. Patrick Mahomes will be better than Sam Donald, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson combined.

College Football

1. Urban Meyer should quit while he is ahead. All this talking isn’t convincing anyone. It is only going to make reporters dig for more dirt that will actually get him fired.

Meyer is the guy who gets away with a crime then writes a book called, ” If I Did It”.

2. The NCAA is going to lose the Alston v NCAA case, and the landscape of college athletics will forever be changed. Players will be getting paid sooner rather than later.

GGG vs Canelo Robbery

GGG got worked by the judges. I wouldn’t trust boxing judges to judge a bake sale. They continuously deliver head-scratcher decisions. Boxing needs to make the judges scorecards public after each round. I bet there would be more knockouts when fighters press because they know they are behind!

When I see Canelo standing up to all those GGG power punches all I can think of is the PED tests for Canelo and how they may have made stronger.


1. Mueller must have had Paul Manafort’s ass in a sling if pleading guilty to two counts, forfeiting over $46 million in accounts and real estate, waving your right to an attorney, and snitching is your best option.

2. Things I’m waiting to hear about Tom Arnold and Mark Burnett’s Emmy’s preparty fight, but know I won’t:

I’m tired of these THUGS.

Spoiled brat millionaires.

What a terrible example to all the kids who aspire to be like them!

Send us your hot takes to and they may make the next week post.

Sean McVay: The Coach Who Remembers Everything

The Risk is Paying Off

Hiring a 30-year-old offensive coordinator to be the next head coach of an NFL team is rare. In fact, it’s downright risky. The last time a team hired a head coach that young was when the Oakland Raiders hired Lane Kiffin, who was 31 at the time. Kiffin was fired after just a year and a half. It’s safe to say that Sean McVay is no Lane Kiffin.

There is a reason why the Los Angeles Rams hired the 30-year-old McVay, and that’s because he is a football genius. For starters, to go 11-5 and win your division in your first year is downright impressive. There’s more to the story than just wins and losses. It involves a photographic memory and overall love for the game.

In a segment with the Simmons & Lefkoe show, McVay was challenged to remember plays from his days in Washington. These were not just any ordinary plays. McVay can name every single play he has ever called no matter how big the stage. Don’t believe me? Check out the video.

It’s not only his memory that is impressive. His ability to maximize the most out of his talent is something that is only reserved for the great coaches in the game like Bill Belichick and Andy Reid. The perfect example to prove this is Todd Gurley.

The Fix

Despite coming off of a breakout year in 2015, Todd Gurley took a step back in 2016, and it was baffling to watch. Gurley was a three-down back which had all the talent in the world, but it did not translate on the field. Here were Gurley’s 2016 stats.

278 attempts, 885 yards, 6 touchdowns.

43 receptions, 0 touchdowns.

What happens when Sean McVay comes to town? Gurley not only excels but becomes one of the best running backs in the league. Here were Gurley’s stats in 2017.

279 attempts, 1,305 yards, 13 touchdowns.

64 receptions, 788 yards, 6 touchdowns.

Was it a coincidence that Gurley’s numbers went up when McVay started calling the plays? I think not. McVay has generated so much respect from the league in such a short amount of time. It’s come to a point where the Rams are being mentioned in Super Bowl talks and being honest; the Rams deserve to be in the discussion.

With Sean McVay in charge, the NFL might have to make room for one more genius in the league.

Patrick Mahomes: Why The New Chiefs Quarterback Will Thrive In The NFL

Patrick Mahomes

In Week 2 of the NFL Preseason, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes dropped back to pass, avoided pressure in the pocket, stepped up, and threw the ball 70 yards in the air to a streaking Tyreek Hill for the touchdown.

Patrick Mahomes is going to be a stud.

70-yard throws do not guarantee Super Bowls, but that throw is precisely what the Chiefs have been missing the past few years with Alex Smith. To his defense, Alex Smith was no slouch. During his tenure, Smith brought the Chiefs to the playoffs in four out of five seasons and made two Pro Bowls. Smith also went almost two years without throwing a touchdown to a receiver and never brought the team past the Divisional Round.

Just like the Toronto Raptors shook up their roster after a successful season in the NBA, the Chiefs decided to do the same thing and trade Smith to the Redskins. The Patrick Mahomes era is set to begin on Sunday. There is a reason why the Chiefs traded three draft picks to select Mahomes. The Texas Tech product was known for his big arm and ability to make all of the throws, which culminated in a 734-passing-yard performance against Oklahoma. Mahomes has a gun-slinger mentality, which has drawn comparisons to Brett Favre. 

Via Bleacher Report

The Guru

If there is one coach who knows how to evaluate quarterbacks, it’s Andy Reid. Reid drafted Donovan McNabb who, despite being met with a chorus of boos at the 1999 NFL Draft, became a 6-time Pro Bowler and led Reid to his only Super Bowl appearance. In Week 2 in 2010, Reid turned the reigns over to an aging Michael Vick, who was looking for a second chance after spending time in prison. Vick leads the Eagles to the playoffs and won the Comeback Player of the Year. Finally, Reid brought in Alex Smith when he went to the Chiefs and Smith lead the team to the playoffs in 4 of 5 years. The track record speaks for itself. Andy Reid knows a thing or two about quarterbacks.

Patrick Mahomes takes over for a team that has Super Bowl talent but has failed to put it all together. It’s not like Mahomes is going to a team under a rebuild like Josh Allen and the Bills or Baker Mayfield and the Browns. The Chiefs are a legitimate team that has competed for the AFC West title the last five seasons. Mahomes will look to excite fans with his rocket arm and a plethora of weapons like Hill, Kareem Hunt, and Travis Kelce.

ESPN NFL Analyst Louis Riddick said, “I would take Patrick Mahomes over just about any quarterback in this list. I would stack him up against anyone.  Furthermore, I think Mahomes is going to absolutely set the league on fire next year. Andy Reid is on to something down there in Kansas City.”

If Mahomes lives up to the hype, fans in Kansas City will have something to cheer about for years to come.

Colin Kaepernick and Nike – Did Nike Just Do It or Just Blew It

Colin Kaepernick

Nike almost broke Twitter when it announced that Colin Kaepernick would be the face of their 30th anniversary “Just Do it” Campaign. It has been a polarizing debate that has lingered on for days. Everyone has their opinion about the health and future of the NFL, Kaepernick, and Nike. That debate will continue as the Nike ads will start running Thursday during the NFL’s Falcons-Eagles Kickoff game. I am here to provide facts and insight on the situation.

Social responsibility, protests, and action are the American way. This country was founded on protest. However, evidence shows that protests are largely ineffective unless they disrupt the everyday lives of people. So, a Twitter protest is just a social media protest that will affect people’s buying habits for days, not months or years. In the last year, people have tried to boycott Chick-fil-a, In-N-Out, Starbucks, and the NFL. All have gone on to make more money.

Nike Just Blew It

Is having Kaepernick on the face of the campaign “bad for business”? Did Nike really alienate half its customer base? Twitter business prognosticators and an angry mob would have you believe that’s true.

The facts are that half of Nike’s nearly $36 billion of revenue in 2017 comes from overseas. And 2/3 of all Nike customers are 35 or under. So while they did piss off a specific demographic, in all likelihood they aren’t Nike’s core customers anyway. NIKE absolutely dominates the sports footwear market. And has recovered the 5.5% of its market share of US footwear it lost to Adidas in 2017.

Nike spends millions on research every year. So, choosing Kaepernick to be the face of the campaign was a very calculated decision. The company was built on rebellion and bucking the system, and Kaepernick falls right in line with that. Michael Jordan and Steve Prefontaine are Nike’s cornerstone athletes. Both bucked the system. Pre was an eccentric runner who bucked the norms. Jordan’s shoes were banned by the NFL, but he continued to wear them. Nike rebelled and took a chance on a black athlete as their pitchman in the 80s. Most companies believed it to be a risky business. We see how that turned out.

Nike’s Stock is Getting Killed

Many people believed that Nike’s stock would drop significantly and it would hurt the business. They thought that “protesters” would abandon a well-performing stock to prove a point. Well, that has shown to false so far. Nike’s stock closed at $82.18 per share on Friday, Aug. 31st.  Nike made the announcement on Labor Day when the markets were not open. By the close of Tuesday Nike’s stock was down $3 to $79.01. On Thursday, September 6th (NKE) closed at $80.40 per share. So yes, Nike’s stock is down $1.78 since the Kaepernick campaign announcement, but it appeared to be normal market fluctuation. On September 11th, the stock price reached as high as $83.57. which is the highest it has ever been. Here is Nike’s last year on the market:

Colin Kaepernick and Nike

NFL will drop Nike

The Twitter mob would have you believe that the NFL may end their relationship with Nike.

Nike is bigger and badder than the NFL. There is ZERO chance the NFL takes legal steps to remove Nike as their official apparel provider. Nike and the NFL are in the midst of an apparel contract that was just extended to 2028. It would likely cost the NFL billions in damages if they breached the contract. The thought that the NFL was blindsided by the Colin Kaepernick signing is doubtful. The league may not have had much advance notice about it, but they have known for much longer than we know. The evidence lies in the NFL’s response to Nike’s campaign, and in the league suspending any consequences to players kneeling.

The NFL responded by saying:

“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity,” executive vice president of communications and public affairs Jocelyn Moore said in the league’s statement. “We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities. The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”

There will be some angry owners, but they will get over it. The smartest thing the NFL can do is take a page out of the NBA’s playbook. Stay out of litigation and public discord with your players. Let your players be individuals free to say and do as they please. Fans want their players on the field, not in the courtroom fighting the league.

The owners also have realized that despite what the POTUS or some of the media tell you NFL revenues and total viewership is up despite falling ratings. Nearly all television network ratings have dropped at a much higher rate than NFL game ratings. Antiquated Nielsen ratings are the biggest factor in the decrease in ratings while total viewership has increased. Those ratings do not account for “cord cutters” and people who watch games through streaming services like Amazon, Hulu TV, YouTube TV, Sling, Roku, etc.

Colleges will drop Nike

There is a faction of people who believe that universities like Alabama, Oregon, or Florida would consider dropping Nike.

There is ZERO chance that happens as well.

“Schools can’t stop any of them: Nike, Under Armour, Adidas,” said David Carter, executive director of USC’s Sports Business Institute. “They don’t have the contractual ability to do that.”

Aside from having no legal ground to void their deals, what alternative do schools have? Nike writes the biggest checks and sells the most merchandise, which handsomely increases these universities bottom line. And we all know that the NCAA always protects the bottom line before the student-athlete.

Breaking Away From Nike

I conducted a poll on Twitter. Thanks to all those who voted and shared. Reading the comments on this poll was fascinating. There were a lot of “let’s rock the vote” comments going on, which only proves my point about Twitter boycotts. They trend, but rarely result in a significant economic impact.

How can a sports fan realistically #BoycottNike? It’s impossible. Nike is the official apparel company for the NFL, NBA, most college basketball teams, and 52.8% of all FBS college football programs. So, if you want to rep your favorite team, you will be giving Nike some cash. And you will absolutely see plenty of swooshes and commercials as you watch the games. Nike also owns Converse and Hurley as well. So, good luck with that.

It is your right to hate or love Nike for signing Kaepernick. However, you have no soul if you hate this commercial.

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*Updated Sept. 11th 10:26 am pt to reflect Nike’s YTD stock price

Bob Wylie Continues to Steal the Show on HBO’s Hard Knocks

Let me start by saying this. I have no idea how many games the Cleveland Browns will win this year. I have no idea when Baker Mayfield will replace Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback.

However, I do know one thing. Bob Wylie is a star.

For the first time in awhile, the Cleveland Browns are a major story in the NFL thanks to Hard Knocks, a reality-sports television program on HBO that chronicles an NFL team in training camp. Teams like the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, and New York Jets have been featured on the program. This year, the Browns were chosen to be the featured team. The offseason has been full of promise despite not winning a game last year. With the additions of Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, and Baker Mayfield to go along with the return of Josh Gordon, the overall sentiment is that the Browns are on the upswing.

However, all of those storylines have taken a back seat to Mr. Electricity himself, Bob Wylie. Wylie is 67 years old and the current Browns offensive line coach. Wylie is old school to a T. He’s honest, in-your-face, and just loves the game of football. Wylie probably has no idea what an iPhone is and definitely watches the 6 o’clock news every night. He’s your cool drunk Uncle at a wedding that could make a tree talk. That’s how entertaining Wylie has been.

Last episode, Wylie went on a rant about stretching and somehow he made a comparison to soldiers storming the beaches at Normandy.

Laugh out loud funny. Wylie is a true football guy. He eats, sleeps, and breathes football. Fancy stretching? Take a hike. The jokes didn’t stop there as Wylie paid homage to Ferris Bueller. Oh, he also drives a white maserati because kings do king things.

I’m in tears watching his gut synchronized to the snap count.

Did I mention that Wylie is a MAGICIAN?

If the Browns make the playoffs this year, it will be because of Bob Wylie. Hopefully, when Hard Knocks is finished, HBO decides to follow Bob Wylie for the rest of the year. The world needs it.

Follow me on Twitter @danny_giro.

Dolphins National Anthem Policy FAIL: Wrighster Or Wrong

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Dolphins owner Stephen Ross submitted a new team national anthem policy that would suspend players for up to 4 games. The NFL and NFLPA saved him from this ridiculousness by putting an indefinite halt on any policies surrounding the national anthem including the one the league put in place. That policy stated that players must either stand respectfully for the national anthem or remain in the locker room. Finally, the NFL owners recognize that this so-called “outrage” about the anthem has not affected the one thing they care about the most, their MONEY. League revenues are up despite tv ratings being down 10% and a general negative perseption by fans about how the league has handled many issues. I detailed the reasons behind ratings decline and that they are not nearly as big of a deal as is made to believe.

It is always worth noting that the NFL didn’t even have players outside of the locker room for the national anthem until the Department of Defense started cutting the league two comma checks.

The absurdity that a player would get the exact same punishment for kneeling as steroids and PEDs is outrageous. Players get a 6-game suspension for domestic abuse. Jameis Winston just got a 3-game suspension for gropping an UBER driver. I refuse to believe this type of math makes sense to anyone.

Am I Wrighster or am I Wrong?