Tag: Football

Swooshed: Nike Loses 3 Billion In One Day On Kaepernick Deal

By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

Nike (NKE -3.16%) took a sharp beating on Tuesday after the Oregon shoe company announced Colin Kaepernick as the star of their new hyperpolitical advertising campaign. In what was described as a “terrible message” by President Trump, the former NFL quarterback is seen staring blankly into a camera as the text “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” stretches across the image.

The conservative blogosphere erupted (of course) in anger over the move by burning Nike shoes and circulating the hashtag #BoycottNike across social media platforms. For many on the political right, Kaepernick’s kneeling in protest of police brutality during the national anthem of NFL games was tantamount to treason. Kaepernick led the 49ers to the NFC Championship in 2013 but quickly became unemployable after the protest as all 32 franchise owners decided he wasn’t worth the PR risk.

Forbes suggested the company’s multi-billion dollar nosedive was an expected pullback and that Kaepernick’s campaign was merely the trigger. The Ringer, meanwhile, called the campaign a “Big Gamble” and suggested that Nike had “hired an activist, not just an athlete.” Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel saw the move as a forward facing positive risk for a company that is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its monumental “Just Do It” campaign.

Writing to investment clients, Nagel believes the debate surrounding the controversial athlete bodes well for Nike: “Our initial take: We commend Nike for its willingness to partake in a more edgy, risky advertising campaign while refreshing its 30-year old ‘Just Do it’ campaign.”

So why the tumble in share price? Investors don’t particularly like risk and right now, Kaepernick is as risky as it gets. Nike’s decision to sign a deal with Kaepernick along with other young superstars like Serena Williams, LeBron James, and Odell Beckham Jr. suggests that the company is looking at a younger, diverse demographic to spur on sales. A CNN poll conducted last year appears to confirm the hypothesis:

Among whites, 59% say the players are doing the wrong thing while 82% of blacks say it’s the right thing to do. Almost 9 in 10 Republicans say it’s the wrong thing (87%) while just about three-quarters of Democrats say the opposite (72%). And most younger Americans call it the right thing (56% among those under age 45) while a majority of older Americans say it’s wrong (59% among those age 45 or older). – CNN

While the NFL had hoped they could simply blacklist players that dared to protest the national anthem by keeping them off team rosters, arbitrator Stephen B. Burbank announced this week that Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit against the NFL would go ahead. How the ongoing saga will affect Nike’s valuation moving forward will be decided in the coming weeks and months but for now, the shoe giant is marking very clearly where they stand politically and taking a big economic hit in the process.

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Gibraltar Soccer Team Will Pay Players in Cryptocurrency

By James Sweet III | Gibraltar

Gibraltar United, a soccer team from the British territory of Gibraltar, is set to become the world’s first sports team to pay players in a form of cryptocurrency. The team’s owner, Pablo Dana, is an investor in “Quantocoin”.

The team’s management has reached an agreement with players that will take effect next season, changing their method of payment from fiat to crypto. Gibraltar’s finance sector, according to The Guardian, is leading nations in embracing technological innovation and the blockchain. Pablo Dana sees the transparency of blockchain technology as a way to reform the soccer community and to remove corruption in the sport.

Due to the size of both Gibraltar and the soccer club, Dana sees embracing the blockchain as a way to pay foreign players who can’t easily access a bank account based in Gibraltar and allows their payments to bypass many fees and taxes in the territory.

If the many teams and leagues of soccer embraced the blockchain, they could easily stop illegal contributions and bribes to clubs, players, and league officials. Soccer seems to be a good market for cryptocurrencies, as players like Lionel Messi have signed partnerships with crypto firms and businesses.

In reference to Gibraltar’s technologically advanced environment, Pablo Dana said, It was the first [place that] regulated betting companies 20 years back when everyone was seeing them as horrible.” 

With Gibraltar United taking a step into the unknown, the club could be a pioneering force in the world. If the process involving cryptocurrency works out, many nations and private organizations may become less reluctant to the blockchain technology, seeing how it could expose illegal practices like money laundering and bribes, as well as making the payroll process easier for both business owners and employees.


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Pussy Riot Invades World Cup Pitch

Spencer Kellogg | @TheNewTreasury

“We live in a country that can do away with a person” -Nadezhda Tolokonnikova 

Four members of the Russian punk band and anarchist protest art group Pussy Riot are being held in a Russian prison tonight after they ran onto the field during the second half of the World Cup Final between Croatia & France. In a sight that stunned viewers and saw players pushing and grabbing at the dissenters, three women and one man were hurried off the field as President Putin watched on from the boxes above.

For fans of soccer around the world, it was a confusing and frustrating moment that broke up tense action in the 52nd minute of play. But to those who have watched Pussy Riot gain notoriety for their public acts of protest, this was the culmination of a roughly decade-long chain of demonstrations that have demanded free speech, LBTQ rights, and shown direct vocal opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for the protest on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

https://twitter.com/KevinRothrock/status/1018551542302101505

The group first made headlines on February 12th, 2012 when they broke into Saviour Cathedral in Moscow and proceeded to perform a “punk prayer” in front of the altar. Three of the women were arrested on charges of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison which they described as endless humiliation upon release.

They would find the media spotlight again when they attempted to perform in front of an Olympic sign at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. In a video that went viral around the world, Russian Cossacks used horsewhips to attack the members of Pussy Riot for exercising their speech. Two members were arrested on charges of theft but were released in hopes of assuaging what had been sustained criticism from journalists regarding free speech rights in Russia ahead of the games.

Of all the protests that Pussy Riot have organized, this was by far their most prolific yet. In front of a relaxed looking Vladimir Putin, Pussy Riot again used the global stage to point out the lack of free speech and religious tolerance in their home country. On their 2014 appearance with Charlie Rose, Maria Alyokhina explained the group’s philosophy: “[Putin] is a person that built his power through the power of fear… Attempts to intimidate us don’t have any result because we don’t want to operate in the system. We want to create a new system where the priority is given to freedom and truth.”

Teenage star Kylian Mbappe gave one of the protestors a high five before she was driven to the ground by security.

71 Republic’s staff will be following this story as it develops and heads to trial.


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Government is Simply a Massive Scam

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Scam: noun. (informal)

1. a dishonest scheme; a fraud. “an insurance scam”

synonyms: fraud, swindle, fraudulent scheme, racket, trick;

If you inquired to the average person on the street if they believe the government should or could be funded voluntarily, or if participation could be voluntary, the answer would likely be no. They would say involuntary taxation is a necessary evil, and it is in fact to the benefit of every individual to pay into the state. They would likely say without coercive taxation, everybody would be looking after themselves, and nobody would pay into police, fire, defense, roads, and other services currently monopolized by state. They may even think society would undoubtedly collapse under such circumstances.

I understand why somebody would think like this, as any person alive today has forever lived under a strong centralized government, and may not be able to see through the smoke screens presented before them. This theory though, that government and taxation must be involuntary because it is to the benefit of the individual, flies in the face of praxeological reality and economic fact.

A contradiction to this idea, the Law of Utility Maximization through cost benefit analysis Is one of the underlying functions of human action in the market. Utility maximization simply means every individual wishes to maximize the benefit they receive in exchange for every dollar, and for every moment of their time. Every consumer wishes to maximize the value they receive for the lowest cost.

A rational individual will purchase a good or service if the benefit they receive from that service is equal to or outweighs the cost of purchasing it, as it is simply to their benefit to do so. The consumer wants to pay into a service if they value the benefit they would receive for paying into that service. And if there are many competing firms, the consumer will choose the firm which provides the best services at the lowest cost.

This of course is the action on the part of the consumer which drives competition, and the success of the business that provides the best deal to customers. When a group has a coercively enforced monopoly it is no longer subject to competition. It no longer has to fight to provide the best services at the lowest cost to consumers, as it is not required to convince people to use their services. It no longer has the incentive to be efficient as it can be, it can just involuntarily take money out of the taxpayers pocket.

This leads to what we now see as the horribly inefficient and wasteful services that the government provides. Since government services are not subject to the scrutiny of the market the people have no choice but to settle with the far below sub-par services it provides. If contribution to these programs were made voluntary, they would either need to seriously get their act together, or be severely outcompeted.

Now if the horrendous services which government provides at the outrageous cost were really to the benefit of the individual, their simply would be no need for it to be involuntary. If it was voluntary, the consumer would want to pay in so they could receive the benefits. This is just like how a consumer purchases a ticket to a football game voluntarily because to them the benefit of the experience of seeing the game in person outweighs the cost of the ticket. Or, it is like how they voluntarily purchase food because being full is worth more benefit than the cost of the purchase.

Are the most successful companies and service providers required to have a gun to the customers’ heads to get their money? Of course not, the consumer wants to give say, Apple, their money because they want to get the product. It’s the same logic for voluntarily funded emergency services for example. It is to the individuals benefit to pay a firm which provides emergency services as to most people, having emergency services at hand is worth the cost of not having it (the market would of course provide alternatives for those in dire circumstances who hasn’t already bought a service, like a 911 service which you call only to be billed after).

Not only do we not need involuntarily funded group with a monopoly on the initiation of force at the center of our society in order to not divulge into a Hobbesian nightmare; but such an institution is always corrupt, inefficient and a scam on society.

That’s not even to mention the complete immorality of the state. Nowhere else in our lives would such an idea be acceptable. Imagine If one day, the McDonald’s CEO announced that the company would be taking 20% to 50% of every dollar which every individual makes (depending on the bracket of course), and that those who failed to comply would be locked up in the McPrison for a few years. But hey you would get 3 meals a day. Would this be acceptable to you? Of course not. If that happened today their were surely be an unavoidable outcry, and the people wouldn’t stand for such a thing. Though If we were already indoctrinated into a system like that, maybe people would even say “Without McDonald’s, who would provide the food?”

In conclusion, the myth of the justification and necessity of the state is a scam on a grand and colossal scale. The fact that government must be an involuntarily funded institution proves that it is a scam. The state acknowledges people would not value their services enough to voluntarily hand over the fruits of their labor. An involuntarily funded group based on the initiation of force, which of course cannot exist in a truly free society, is never justifiable nor is it necessary.


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Was it a Catch?

By Colin Reno | USA

In the crucial December 18th match-up between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, fans were given an amazing game from kickoff to the very last drive. This exhibition featured the two best records in the AFC, fighting for position of the number one seed in the conference and rights to home field advantage throughout the upcoming playoffs. The Patriots were up 27-24 after scoring on the previous drive, the Steelers were given the ball back with 51 seconds left on the game clock. After a 69-yard reception from QB Roethlisberger to WR Smith-Schuster, Roethlisberger attempted to a pass to TE Jesse James on the edge of the goal line. James left his feet to catch the ball, as he came down to the turf, he attempted to stretch the ball across the goal line. The play was ruled a touchdown, but later overturned due to a challenge replay. Roethlisberger attempted a short pass to WR Hayward-Bay for a 3-yard gain on the next snap. The Steelers were forced to go “no huddle” with 9 seconds left, with no time-outs in the half. Roethlisberger then attempted a “fake spike” to catch the defense off-guard. The ball was thrown towards WR Rodgers, but was tipped into the air by Patriots’ CB Rowe, later intercepted by CB Harmon. After one final snap by the Patriots’ offense, New England emerged victorious.

The great Vince Lombardi once said, “Football is a game of inches and inches make the champion.” This held very true on Monday night when the game was ruled in favor of the Patriots by a mere inch. As Steelers’ TE Jesse James stretched his arms across the goal line, the tip of the ball fell out of his hands and skimmed the turf and was ruled an incomplete pass by officials. This ruling has had the league in flames, but what many people do not know is the true definition of a “catch”. Article 3 of the NFL’s official rule book, a player must “a) secure control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; b) and touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and c) maintains control of the ball after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, until he has the ball long enough to clearly become a runner. A player has the ball long enough to become a runner when, after his second foot is on the ground, he is capable of avoiding or warding off impending contact of an opponent, tucking the ball away, turning upfield, or taking additional steps.” Player Jesse James never fulfilled part (c) of the league’s constitution of a catch. By leaving his feet to attempt a play at the ball, James was never able to become a “runner”, thus factoring in a new amendment in the rule, nicknamed the “Calvin Johnson Rule”. This amendment states “If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered a loss of possession. He must lose control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any part of his body to the ground, it is not a catch.” Since James attempted to stretch his arms across the goal line while not being an eligible runner, once the tip of the ball hits the turf the play is dead and the pass is considered incomplete.

This one ruling may have cost Pittsburgh “home field advantage”, which could end up being a crucial factor late in the playoffs. Instead of playing in Heinz Field, one of the rowdiest stadiums in the league, the Steelers could possibly be taking a trip up north to Foxborough to take on the Patriots in a rematch that many are anticipating to be the AFC Championship game. Since 2002, New England has had an NFL’s best 118-23 record at home. Playing 573 miles north could end up costing Pittsburgh a trip to the Super Bowl, which would leave Steelers fans – and football fans alike – wondering, “What if Jesse James scored?”.