In CommPRO, Richard Levick urges companies to take this opportunity to lead change in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, not react to it.
When the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted game five of their NBA series against the Orlando Magic to protest police brutality, they took sports’ biggest stand since Muhammad Ali – during the height of the Vietnam War – lost everything and was stripped of his boxing crown for announcing he was a conscientious objector and refusing induction into the U.S. Army in 1968.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t follow sports. The earth stood still on August 26th. Already, in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, the NBA players have demanded and won from team owners the agreement to convert NBA arenas “into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID.” This is enormously big and forever trespasses the line between sports and reality. However, if you have already looked away, you are making a mistake. There is another lesson and it is huge.
According to an analysis by Popular Information, the major sponsors of the NBA have also simultaneously made political donations of $3.3 million to politicians rated “F” by the NAACP. Can you figure out what’s next?
Increased transparency, including obliterating the opaqueness of 527 political donations, means that companies that have historically donated to politicians independent of their brand but otherwise smart for business reasons are in for a reckoning. Brands and politics are no longer separate and the public linkage is accelerating at, well, an Olympic pace. The heretofore “smart” business strategy of donating to politicians either evenly across political parties or because of their sympathetic positions on corporate friendly legislation and taxation are going to find a much less friendly audience…Read more