This “grayness” colors a lot of the actions people take today. I’m sure I speak for every human being on the planet when I say that we have all done good things for the wrong or self- serving reasons. Whether it’s to improve one’s reputation, win influence over others, or leverage side benefits, not every moral action is without those who seek to gain from performing it.
Companies who undertake or support social initiatives are no di erent. As bleak as it might sound, a company’s chief objective is to make money. Money is the reason why businesses are started, why they’re able to continue operations
today, and why they will continue to exist for as long as possible. Money is almost always the strongest motivator for a company.
While criticizing a company for supporting a social initiative only when it’s profitable is a fair complaint, it often unfairly diminishes the fact that the organization is at least doing something about that social issue. Unless it’s blatant hypocrisy, good work is still being accomplished regardless. We often judge others on their actions first, with motivations coming second.
So, if a company’s positive practices are motivated primarily by money, then it is up to us, the consumer,
to reward that behavior by making it profitable for them to continue their actions—provided those actions are supported by the consumer. The act of not supporting a company that is taking these actions would remove much of the incentive behind its behavior (money) and only discourage it from attempting similar initiatives in the future. Those
who support the same stance as Nike regarding the Kaepernick situation should not be unduly criticizing
the company for jumping on the “bandwagon,” but celebrating the fact that one of the largest corporations in the world is intensifying the spotlight on a national issue.
Ultimately, true change cannot happen without decisive action. While there is a myriad of layers behind every issue and the corporate decisions a ecting those issues, I do think that companies striving for solutions should be given the benefit of the doubt—or at least get cut a little slack.
Despite how cynical or condescending I may have sounded over the course of this story, I do believe in people. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to be better and do better. We may stumble and fall along the way, but it’s important to pick ourselves
back up, forgive—but not forget—and keep moving in the only direction that matters: Forward.