Historically, corporate entities - and the athletes they sponsored, have refrained from sharing their thoughts on social and political issues. Michael Jordan once joked about his own reservations to comment on politics, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” However, in today’s world of social media, the ‘apolitical’ approach no longer fits. Michael Jordan, for instance, just pledged $100m in the fight for racial inequality.
In this media-age, companies can no longer fly under the radar. There is no space for vague messaging either. A new survey conducted by the data company Morning Consult found messages expressing support on social media were the least likely to satisfy respondents. Most people want companies to commit resources to help communities recover from unrest and make their own workplaces less racist.
Companies failing to create a meaningful connection between their words (or black squares on Instagram) and action have been, rightfully, called out – from L’Oreal to the NFL. The Guardian’s Barry Glendenninghas called on FIFA and UEFA’s response to the solidarity shown by players with George Floyd to be “more than platitudes”.
As the FT states,“Those who go the furthest risk a backlash, but might also profit.” Echoing the thoughts of Liverpool and England full back, Trent Alexander-Arnold, "I hope we are living right now in a moment in history that is massive. I hope this is the moment we see real change, and permanent change. I hope this is the moment we see equality for every race, every gender, everything."
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