Lee Davis: Somebody Ought To Lose Their Job At Nike, Meb Keflezigh Wins Olympic Marathon Trials

Saturday, January 14, 2012 - by Attorney Lee Davis
Lee Davis
Lee Davis

Meb Keflezighi won today’s Men’s Olympic Marathon trials in Houston. Meb, 36-years old, ran a personal best to win the race and qualify for the 2012 Men’s Olympic Marathon Team. Keflezighi’s time of 2:09:07 was just shy of an American Olympic trials record, with Ryan Hall, the race favorite, coming in second and finishing just under the 2:10 mark.

Meb was representing Sketchers as Nike dropped him as an athlete in 2011. That is why I say someone at Nike should lose their job. Previously he had been a Nike athlete, and most in the sport associated him with Nike. Can you imagine the conversation in Beaverton, OR, next week? A Senior V.P. at Nike is going to call in some Stanford MBA on Monday to explain how in the world Nike got scooped by Sketchers in the most important running event to be held every four years on American soil, the Olympic Marathon Trials.

Q: How come Meb was wearing a New York AC uniform, and what was that on his feet?

A: We don’t have him as an athlete at Nike anymore, and I think those were Heelies or Shetchers or something, bad orange.

Q: He is not a Nike athlete?

A: No.

Q: Didn’t he win the New York City Marathon a couple years ago?

A: Yes, 2009.

Q: Didn’t he get a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics?

A: Yes, Athens, looked great in that white USA jersey and his Nikes.

Q: Who did he represent then?

A: Nike.

Q: Doesn’t he have some compelling personal story?

A: Yes, his dad walked the family across 500 miles of desert in Africa to escape war in Eritrea. Meb grew up in America and loves the USA and proudly represents our nation. He even wrote a book about it, Run to Overcome. And he has a quote that sums it up: ”Like the marathon, life can sometimes be difficult, challenging and present obstacles; however, if you believe in your
dreams and never ever give up, things will turn out for the best.” – Meb

Q: And, you’re sure he is no longer a Nike athlete? We usually grab up those personal interest stories, war, Africa, just do it stuff.

A: No, we let him go so we could hire another bench-sitting baby in the NBA…marketing said that was the way to go. Meb has no tattoos.

Q: How much was he asking for?

A: Three years at about $250k a year…the same as the NBA guy makes in about 15 minutes.

Q: So who is he representing?

A: Sketchers?

Q: Who do they have?

A: Dancing with the Stars host Brooke Burke.

A: And now Meb in the 2012 Olympics in London.

NBC covered the trials for two hours Saturday afternoon from 3-5 pm (EST), and for the better part of the coverage it was a duel with Meb (Sketchers) and Hall (Asics). On the podium Nike can take small solace in the fact that they did have an athlete as the last qualifier on the podium. Maybe a new ad campaign will come of it: Just Do It…third.

Consider this: The 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2009 New York City Marathon champion, Meb Keflezighi was sponsored by Nike until that ended earlier this year, purportedly because they couldn’t agree on a contract amount. Surely Meb’s request is a small number compared to what the Nike brand would have yielded from an Olympic spotlight. And, that Sketchers did sign Meb underscores the point. As far as I know, Sketchers doesn’t have serious running shoes. You can, however, get excellent Bella Ballerina shoes; check their website.

A bad day for marketing in Beaverton.

Good luck, Meb, in London!

America is behind you 100 percent.

(Lee Davis is a Chattanooga attorney who can be reached at lee@davis-hoss.com or at 266-0605.)



UTC'S Stuart, Melchionna Named All District Track

 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga runners Paul Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Maddison Melchionna (Afton, Tenn.) were named to the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) Academic All-District today for cross country and track and field.   Stuart just completed his junior season on the men’s cross country team and led the Mocs on the course. ... (click for more)

UTC Women's Basketball Adds Winthrop Transfer

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster announced the addition of transfer Arianne Whitaker to the women’s basketball roster next season.   Whitaker, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, is leaving Winthrop University and will have to sit out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. She will have three seasons remaining of eligibility. Whitaker was third on the ... (click for more)

HCDE Releases Central Office And School Administrative Appointments

The Hamilton County Department of Education Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly announced Thursday several new principal and central office appointments. “Strong school leadership is essential to student success. Great school leaders are the key to ensuring there is an excellent teacher in every classroom. We are confident that these principals will provide ... (click for more)

Dr. Russell Dyer Chosen As Director Of Schools By Cleveland City School Board

The Cleveland City School board unanimously voted Thursday afternoon to offer the job of director of Schools to Dr. Russell Dyer. Dr. Dyer currently serves as the Chief of Staff of Schools in Collierville, Tn.  If Dr. Dyer accepts the school board's contract, he will be paid $132,500 a year. Dr. Dyer's selection comes a few months after the last director of schools, ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The American Dream, 2016

On this, the week of commencement, junior high graduations, and achievement at every level is displayed, we stand with hope and wonder as the next wave of promising Americans gives our nation the reason we pray for our next tomorrow. On Monday, as Vice President Joe Biden addressed 950 cadets who would become 2nd Lieutenants by the end of the day at the United States Military ... (click for more)