Monthly Archives: September 2018

Nike with a brilliant marketing move, putting Kaepernick front and center. A 99-year-old man honors his wife, beautifully. And a Scottish guy romantically proposed to his girlfriend, on a cow

There are a lot of reasons to criticize the sportswear and sneaker company Nike.
Their record on human rights in third-world countries, places where much of their sneakers and clothing are made, is pretty abysmal. They have mostly always been about “cool” more than anything else.

Also? Their sneakers, most of us can agree, aren’t that comfy.

But their ad campaigns have almost always been phenomenal. And they’ve hit another home run with this new one: You’ve got to give credit where credit is due to the Phil Knight-led behemoth up in Oregon: They’ve timed their new ad campaign perfectly.

To re-introduce their old “Just do It” slogan for it’s 30th anniversary, they’ve decided to feature Colin Kaepernick. You know, the guy who kneeled for the national anthem to protest police brutality against minorities and racial inequality in the criminal justice system, and now has spent two years without a job in the NFL while people like Nathan Peterman (Nathan Peterman!) are starting in the league.

It’s a terrific idea for Nike, and is particularly bold considering how in bed with the NFL the company is, and how much of a pariah Kaep is to NFL owners, who refuse to employ him even though he’s pretty good.

“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, told ESPN.

“We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes,” Fisanotti said.

Well done, Nike. Well done.

**Next up today, I would normally save this next story for Good News Friday but this week’s GNF will be a little different than most, an annual column I take great joy in writing.
So I wanted make sure I shared this today: A 99-year-old man who walks six miles every day to visit his wife in the hospital.

Pure love and devotion.

**Finally today, if this isn’t the most romantic thing you read today, well, OK maybe it won’t be. But it still made me laugh out loud.

A man in Aberdeenshire, Scotland named Chris Gospel came up with a unique way to propose to his beloved, Eilidh Fraser.

He asked her to marry him by popping the question. By writing on the side of her favorite cow.

Mr Gospel went down on one knee after his girlfriend read the message. She said yes.

Man, I totally wish I had done that with Shelley. If only she had HAD a favorite cow.

Thoughts from a week at the U.S. Open: Heat, more heat, and the men’s draw has been awesome. Labor Day memories of Jerry Lewis. And an amazing story of a son, a birth mother, and his real father

The first week of the U.S. Open is through, and all of my sweat glands are just about dry.
Let me tell you about how hot it was in New York this past week (and yes I sound like David Letterman in my head right now): I bought some ice cream at the Ben and Jerry’s on site and it was already melting when the salesman gave me my change.

It was insanely hot for the first four days of the Open. But the tennis was amazing, the new amenities are outstanding, and it finally cooled off over the weekend so we could see some great tennis.

As usual after a week watching/covering the final Grand Slam of the year, I have many thoughts, only some of them actually tennis-related…

— First of all, every year for the past five the USTA has made improvements to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and this year the final touch was put in place: The new Louis Armstrong Stadium is phenomenal. It seats 14,000 but feels intimate, it has a roof in case it rains, it has tons of shade for spectators, and it gets all kinds of loud during big matches. During the best match I saw the first week, the Kevin Anderson vs. Denis Shapovalov five-set classic, was at Armstrong and was as loud as I’ve heard a match at the Open in many years. It’s a wonderful new stadium.

— Every year the prices for food and drinks get more and more outrageous. Do you know how much a Pat LaFrieda steak sandwich costs at the Open this year? Nineteen bucks. Obscene.

— There is a lot of hand-wringing about what’s going to happen to men’s tennis once Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic retire. No need to worry: The next generation, all 22 and under, are going to be spectacular. The Canadian kid Shapovalov, Australia’s Alex de Minaur, Germany’s Sasha Zverev, and our American boys, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe, all will fill the void just fine. They’re all phenomenal now, and going to get so, so much better.

Although, this shot from Federer will be hard to ever top…

— I don’t know if this is a result of the Williams sisters, or many other factors, but the crowds at the Open are less monolithic than in the past. Oh sure, it’s still predominantly white people, but it’s much more diverse than it used to be. Let that be one of 900 ways the sport is better now than in the past.

— Speaking of diversity, it struck me more this year than others, the incredible swath of countries who’ve produced great tennis players. There are 16 players left in the men’s draw, and they’re from 15 countries. It’s beautiful to see, especially in this era of the world when there’s so much antagonism toward others not like ourselves, a Ukranian playing an Argentinian on a tennis court in New York.

— Finally, I think Madison Keys (above) is going to win the women’s tournament and, despite some tough matches lately, Rafael Nadal is going to win the men’s. But I’m excited for what will hopefully be the match of the tournament, Wednesday night, Federer vs. Djokovic. I am so, so, hoping it happens and I can be there live to see it.

Don’t worry, my kids still remember what I look like. My wife shows them my picture every night.

**Next up today, I think every year on Labor Day we should give thanks to all the hard-working men and women out there in the world, who make our lives easier. I think we should grill up some burgers, hang out with loved ones, and of course, think about Jerry Lewis, whose annual telethon for Muscular Dystrophy raised millions for a great cause.

I know Jerry Lewis wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, he had some retrograde views about women (stupidly once saying that “women aren’t funny” so they shouldn’t be comedians) and other flaws. But the man did so much for so many kids. So here’s Jerry, on Labor Day, singing as only he could…

**Finally today, I don’t want to give away too much about this next story, because discovering the secrets of former pro football player Deland McCullough, his adoptive parents, and his search for his biological Mom is so much a part of the joy of this story, by ESPN’s Sarah Spain.

There’s a jaw-dropping detail that changes the entire tale about 2/3 of the way in, and I mean that literally: As I was reading it Sunday and came to that part, my jaw flew open and stayed there.

This is beautiful storytelling from Spain, and from the participants involved. So much love went into Deland McCullough, and so much love has poured out of him.

What a wonderful, wonderful story. Please read it.