By: Shanna Burnette
Brands play a critical role in the fight for clean sport. As much authority we give our governing bodies and anti-doping agencies, the power for clean sport reform comes from the cooperation of all organizations and individuals involved. Social movements throughout history never have come from the top down, but from the grassroots movement of the people uniting together for positive change. We all can make a small difference because when many of us come together for change, no matter how big or how small, collectively it makes a big difference.
Brands have a significant impact on influencing culture and sport. When this is focused in the right direction, business is a remarkable force for good. And, when brands spend marketing dollars on athletes, we want to know and trust that those dollars are going to clean athletes who inspire greatness in us all by their honesty, transparency and hard work through fair play.
Traditionally, the marketing expense of a brand tied to athletes often relies on sponsoring the “best” athlete - the one with the most potential to continually stand on the podium The more often an athlete gets attention, the more exposure the brand gets. It quickly can become a grey area of how that athlete gets to be the best and stay the best. There increasingly becomes more pressure for the athlete to perform and win consistently or face the harsh reality of becoming non-existent to the brand. Contracts can be lowered if performances drop or an athlete can be used less in marketing campaigns until one day we barely hear of that athlete anymore or that athlete becomes non-existent. Yes, we can all say that we want to see the athlete the most at the highlight of his or her career. However, an athlete’s worth goes far beyond the performance.
As consumers do we truly care more about how much a brand is “winning”, or the values and ethics that the company holds? Does the company use their athlete-marketing budget to invest in the human or the performance? There is great power in the consumer’s purchasing dollar, and where we want to invest our hard working money matters. We want to represent the brands that are doing great things in their respective fields, giving back, supporting and celebrating athletes who will only compete honestly and fairly. We are living in an amazing time where information is plentiful, great people are building meaningful brands and people matter more than performances. The athletes I hold in the highest esteem aren’t necessarily the ones who are winning all the time, but the ones who work hard day in and day out, are dedicated to their profession, and act with the utmost integrity and respect on and off the playing field. As a fan, an amateur athlete and an agent, I want to invest in those athletes and the companies who surround them.
As to many of your requests, below is the list of brands that have signed the clean sport pledge. Of course, this does not mean that any brand that isn’t listed here isn’t dedicated to clean sport, and this isn’t a closed membership. At any time, a brand can sign the pledge and join the Clean Sport Collective membership. If there is a brand that you love, and you don’t see them listed below, encourage them to sign the pledge and become a clean sport member. The cost is $0, and the biggest call to action for brands is to NOT sponsor any athlete who has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Below is the brand pledge that Clean Sport Collective Brand members have committed to and signed. Together, let’s celebrate the brands and athletes doing it the right way.
We pledge to support clean sport by sponsoring athletes who are committed to training, racing and living clean, and not sponsoring athletes who have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Working with individuals or teams who choose to not play by the rules steals from hard working athletes that chose to do the right thing and challenges the health and integrity of sport. We understand and appreciate our corporate responsibility and through our influence we will create positive change through promoting clean athletes and teams. We pledge to support clean athletes who are leaders of clean sport. We pledge to support clean athletes by investing in who they are and what they represent. We pledge to create positive change by supporting athletes who are committed to clean sport.
Shoe + Apparel Brands:
Nutrition + Hydration Brands:
Running Health LLC
Shanna Burnette is the co-founder of Clean Sport Collective. She has her B.A. in pre-law from the University of Colorado where she ran track and cross-country on an athletic scholarship. She has her M.B.A. from University of Portland with a dual emphasis in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. She is the co-founder of ModCraft, and the agent for Kara Goucher. You can follow her on twitter @shannaburnette