Sport & Exercise Science

Soccer more important than HIV/AIDS?

Lace up Save LivesProduct (RED) was launched in 2006 by politician and activist Bobby Shriver and celebrity philanthropist Bono as an initiative to activate the corporate sector in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.

In 2009, Nike joined Product (RED)’s list of corporate partners with its “Lace Up, Save Lives” campaign which featured prominently around the world using internationally known footballers such as Didier Drogba to promote the initiative.

Nike (RED) is unique among the corporate supporters in that it directs 100% of its profits toward HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and grassroots soccer programmes in Africa.

A case study published in the current issue of the journal, Sociology of Sport, questions the symbolism projected by Nike (RED) and its implications by applying Jean Baudrillard’s theories on consumption and hyperreality.

The manner in which Nike (RED) represents Africa, HIV/ AIDS, soccer, and sport for development and peace are all discussed as mediated simulations that position Nike as the producer of knowledge.

Data analysis observes that Nike (RED) laces produce a hyperreality, whereby the origin of truth becomes, according to Baudrillard, indecipherable and soccer becomes more important than HIV/AIDS.

Source: Sociology of Sport

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