Superathletes as Supersalesmen Football and Baseball Star Bo Jackson's Endorsements Raise Questions of Black Role Models

By Elizabeth A. Brown, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 1990 | Go to article overview

Superathletes as Supersalesmen Football and Baseball Star Bo Jackson's Endorsements Raise Questions of Black Role Models


Elizabeth A. Brown, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


HE is everywhere - advertising sneakers, cereal, a sports drink, and a phone company. Everyone knows Bo.

That's because Bo Jackson plays not one but two professional sports: He's a running back for the Los Angeles Raiders and outfielder for the Kansas City Royals. Off the field he is a college graduate (he went back to school after leaving to play pro ball), a husband and father of three. He is the subject of books and magazine articles, and a TV talk-show guest. This month marks the publication of his official autobiography, "Bo Knows Bo."

Many Americans wouldn't know Bo without his widespread exposure in the award-winning "Bo Knows" campaign for Nike "cross training" sport shoes. In these TV and print ads, Bo plays every sport. In a new ad for a sport drink, Bo competes against an alligator (signifying the competitor) and wins. For $15, kids can join the Bo Jackson Fan Club advertised on boxes of Cheerios.

All this has made him millions, and pushed him into the predominately white elite of players making more money endorsing products than on the field. But is that kind of recognition progress?

Some say Jackson's ads are harmless, fun, and promote a positive role model for blacks. Others say the ads are hurtful and ultimately explotative.

"We need all the role models we can get," says Charles Farrell, special projects coordinator at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Boston's Northeastern University. Like many, he lauds Jackson's commercial appeal as good for the black community.

"The phenomenal success of Bo Jackson's `Just Do It' campaign and (Chicago Bulls guard) Michael Jordan's `Air Jordan' campaigns are clearly showing that now these black athletes are just as marketable and perhaps more marketable than white athletes."

Whites usually sell sports products: Nine of the top ten endorsers are white, says Mr. Farrell. Basketball's Michael Jordan, who earns about $5 million, is in the middle of the pack. Bo Jackson should make that list next year, with endorsements estimated by Farrell to reach $2 million.

Jackson is a natural for shoe ads, says Farrell, because he appeals to young blacks, who help set fashion trends for everybody. "Why not use somebody black who is readily identified as a role model within the black community?" he says.

On the sidewalks of Boston, Nike (the street name rhymes with "bike") and Adidas high-tops seem to predominate. Bo's cross-trainers are not yet fashionable.

"Nikes are the only shoes I wear," says Andrew Sheppard, a college student from South Carolina, showing off his broken-in black-leather high-tops advertised by the Chicago Bulls basketball great. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Superathletes as Supersalesmen Football and Baseball Star Bo Jackson's Endorsements Raise Questions of Black Role Models
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.