And there is the matter of Nike's tolerance of its clients' appearing in ads for other companies. Nike, which generated sales of $200 million last year on Air Jordan sportswear, was reportedly upset when Michael Jordan appeared in a Hanes underwear commercial that Nike felt was undignified. "We make our money selling shoes," says a Nike spokesman. "Our interest is not to generate a lot of money from endorsements. The main product should be playing basketball."
Vote of Confidence
When Cincinnati Red publicity director Jon Braude announced at a press conference last week that 31-year-old Jim Bowden, formerly director of player development, had been hired as Cincinnati's general manager—succeeding Bob Quinn, fired at the end of the season—he began with the words "The Reds have some very good news to announce...." At which point owner Marge Schott was clearly heard to say, "We'll see how good at the end of the year."
A Few Hard Men
A video entitled Soccer's Hard Men, recently released in Great Britain, features the voice-over narration of Vinny Jones, a midfielder of little skill and less subtlety for the Wimbledon Dons of Chelsea. The video fondly recalls the dirty tactics of such legendary British soccer toughs as Ron (Chopper) Harris and Norman (Bites Yer Legs) Hunter, not to mention the hard man who was instructed by his coach to stop the other team's winger, and replies, "Is that just for today, or for the rest of the season?"
Jones helpfully lists some of the more effective ways to foul an opponent: Poke him in the eye, tread on his toes, elbow him behind the ear, rake your cleats down his Achilles tendon and the ever-popular grab his testicles. (There is a famous photograph of Jones himself putting this last technique into practice.) For his troubles Jones has been referred to by the chairman of his team as "mosquito brain" and has been charged by the Football Association with "bringing the game into disrepute."
Just Call Him Willy
Scheduled to be in the starting field of the New York City Marathon next week is Prince Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg. For security purposes he's entered under an assumed name.
An American in Paris
American football has grown sufficiently popular in France that amateur leagues have begun springing up like chanterelle mushrooms. Marine lieutenant colonel Bob Parnell, who is serving a tour of duty at the U.S. embassy in Paris, coaches in a league in which all the players, except two expatriate Americans per team, are French.
During his first several games on the sideline, Parnell was surprised by the slow pace of the games. There would be a burst of activity, he noticed, then nothing would happen for a very long time. Just like an NFL game, in other words. Things speeded up considerably, however, when the league passed a rule forbidding the players to smoke during huddles.
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