How Olympic Athletes Can Get Around Rule 40!
It came to me in my sleep. All 3 hours of it last night. You see, I have repped over 400+ Olympic level athletes who have won over 150 Olympic medals. Comparatively, I would be the 25th most medaled country in the World, well if I was a country. But I am not.
What I am, have been and I guess always will be at the core is a sports agent. There you go. I said it. I am a sports agent and I am damn proud of it! One of the most rewarding parts of my career has been to work with some of the greatest athletes in American Olympic history in one capacity or another:
Mark Spitz, Dara Torres, Dominique Dawes, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Nastia Liukin, Amanda Beard, Greg Louganis, Janet Evans, Apolo Ohno, Al Oerter and many others.
The one thing I learned about representing these iconic athletes, their teammates, coaches and friends in the Olympic movement is that the IOC and the USOC are definitely not about making them money. Famous, maybe. Rich, no EFFN chance! I can go into the bloody details but just trust me on this. The athletes, once they make an Olympic team sign a “code of conduct” document which is just a perverted marketing land grab.
Essentially, athletes are bound to a very arbitrary arrangement that most athletes and the companies that sponsor them can’t meet in order for that company to utilize the athlete’s image during the Olympic blackout period. It is called Rule 40. And this Rule 40 precludes companies from utilizing current Olympians from any marketing, advertising or social media 2 weeks before the Games, the 2 weeks of the Games and the week after unless they get a waiver from the USOC. Now the waiver is easy enough, the criteria is non-sense. My opinion of course.
So athletes can’t shout out their sponsors, promote them or work with them during the blackout period. So essentially the Olympic sponsors get complete field of play for advertising and marketing. Now the US Government spends no money on the Olympics so I am not sure why Congress allows for this monopoly, but they do! It’s disgusting!
But I have an idea of how the athletes can show civil disobedience, make their point and effectively not be in violation of Rule 40. So here it goes:
The Olympic athletes should use their social media to comment on their teammate’s sponsors. So let’s say you are Kerri Walsh Jennings, she would tweet about Phil Dalhausser’s deals with Under Armour, 66 Audio, Oakley and Red Bull. Or let’s say Allyson Felix shout’s out Michael Phelps’ sponsors like Aquasphere and Under Armour. Wait, how about Simone Biles using SnapChat to do a quick video with her teammate Laura Hernandez, 16 and just turned pro rocking something cool and giving visibility to that company!
You see if all the Olympic athletes were using social media to talk about their teammates hottest ear buds, delicious new smoothie, awesome apparel, new mattress, great protein bar, etc., what could the USOC do other than pull them in a room and look at them cross! Do you really think they are going to throw someone out of the Olympics for marketing rights? HA! NEVER. They don’t have the balls.
Fact is, athletes should not have to go to such lengths to support themselves, represent us and perform at the highest levels! Less than 5% of this Olympic team has a direct endorsement deal with an Olympic sponsor. So that means 95% of the funding is generated externally! That is not acceptable. Sooooo, call a Congressman or maybe use your social media and let the USOC know that the athletes need better support. Include this hashtag #freeolympians This hashtag is appropriate in the end because “Free” and “Olympians” are something the national governing bodies and Olympic committees have become all too comfortable assuming will happen.
Go make a change! Like 10 Olympians on social media, write to them and hashtag it#freeolympians. Don’t do it for them, do it for the athletes of the 2020 or 2024 team who need the system changed now or they will suffer from the underfunded mess too many athletes deal with today.