Nike picked a fight that it could not lose. Think about it. If anyone agreed with Nike’s endorsement in the taking- a- knee controversy they could show their support by buying its products. But what about those who disagreed? They couldn’t return used shoes. There was no way to unbuy. They could purchase Reeboks, but the impact of that would be hard to calculate. Besides, the folks at Nike obviously know how to count votes. Its market is mostly young people who live in a world where multi-millionaire athletes are role models. Their side gets the attention and the sound bites and, for the most part, controls the internet.

What is worrisome is that to them any positive statement about the history of America is seen as being naïve and jingoistic. Normandy, the Cold War and global stability were mere sideshows. There was slavery, as there was in most of the world, but it goes unnoticed that here we fought a civil war to get rid of it and a president was assassinated.

What is missing is an informed respected voice; not for propaganda but to speak truthfully about the American experience. 

Unfortunately, the President does not seem to know history and tweets are hardly an educational medium.

What happened in Kenner last week was maddening. Any company whose advice to the world is “Just Do it” oversimplifies what could be dangerous choices. And to have Colin Kaepernik saying “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything” brings to mind characters in history whose beliefs created catastrophes. Those words could be true of Mother Teresa, but also of Attila the Hun.

Of course we’re just talking about shoes here. The race is always more fun when you can’t lose.


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BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s books, “New Orleans: The First 300 Years” and “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2017 and 2013), are available at local bookstores and at book websites.