“You can run wit losers, or run wit winners and win” 50 Cent on Young Buck – ‘Let Me In’ on LP ‘Straight Outta Ca$hville’ (2004).
It is Olympics season and Rio Olympics started the 5th August 2016. There we’re long planning for each athlete and Olympics team through the National Sports Authorities who fixes funds and also allocate monies to the needed equipment and so on. Therefore the recent days mayhem around the Kenyan Olympic Team and the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K). This team and Committee have come under fire. The NOC-K and Kenyan Athletics have both been questioned about their use of funds and corrupt behaviour.
Today I am going over the recent articles on the Rio Scandal of the Athletes who was not getting their needed National Nike Kits from the NOCK. As they we’re even at one point claimed to been stealing from a Nike Shop in Rio and had a meeting with Nike Officials in Brazil. This happens as the Nike Corporation has already gotten shredded review for their newest agreement with the Kenyan Athletics and NOCK in 2013. They can be questioned for their “commitment bonus” and the reason for paying off Chinese counterparts to keep the Kenyan Runners running in Sports Appeal from Nike.
The NIKE Corporation wants the best wearing their gear at the biggest sports events so they can be the Golden club, like 50 Cent said so poetically: “Run wit winners and win” in 2004, the same kind of acts are apparently the key for the Nike Executives who rather for branding sake bribe Kenyan Officials to have the quickest men wearing their running shirts. This should be a crown example of the American Sports Industry and how far they go to pay off Athletes and Sports Organizations who fit their bar. The Kenyan Sports Officials are getting easy money for their associates to wear clothes and brand them. But it goes further as some officials apparently have been selling of special clothes made for the athletes and this year’s Olympics. So they didn’t have enough Sports Gear for their delegation in Brazil. So the greed of NOCK officials just sold the designated apparel for the Athletes. That shows the little care for their obligated work and more about the extra funds for themselves.
Reports from earlier in 2016 – Commitment Bonus saga:
“In a contract signed several years ago, Nike agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in honorariums and a one-time $500,000 “commitment bonus,” which the former employee called a bribe” (…) “For more than 20 years, Nike Inc. has been paying the Kenyan national runners’ association millions of dollars in exchange for the Kenyans wearing Nike’s signature swoosh, superb advertising in the running world” (…) “After they received a letter from a Nike lawyer saying there were no legal grounds to terminate the contract, the Kenyan officials abruptly changed course. They negotiated a new contract in which Nike agreed to pay Athletics Kenya an annual sponsorship fee of $1.3 million to $1.5 million — plus $100,000 honorariums each year and a one-time $500,000 “commitment bonus.” (…) “In a sworn statement provided to Kenyan investigators, the former assistant said the $500,000 commitment bonus was “bribe money from Nike” so that the top officials could pay back the $200,000 from the scuttled deal with the Chinese company and then make even more by agreeing to sign up again with Nike” (…) “Nike wired the money into the federation’s account instead. But before that, the chairman emailed a Nike executive, Robert Lotwis, with “invoice” in the subject line. “Urgent!!” the message said. “Dear Robert, U.S. 500,000 being commitment Bonus. Regards, Isaiah Kiplagat, Chairman.” (Gettleman, 2016).
It was all well in July 2016:
“Kenya’s track and field team received it’s Nike kit for the Rio Olympics yesterday with the elite distance runners saying they are ready to take the game to their Ethiopian arch rivals at next month’s game” (…) “Stephen Soi (above), Kenya’s chef de mission to the Rio Games, said Nike had sent training leisure and competition kit to the Tusker sponsored Team Kenya” (Makori, 2016).
What they we’re supposed to get:
“Some athlete revealed that the National Olympic Committee (NOCK) officials were diverting the kits for sale in Kenyan market. “Nike submitted 1,900 pieces of uniform both for training and racing to the 52 athletes who were in Rio. Nike had a different set for coaches, trainers, and officials,” said a Sports ministry official who had travelled with Ruto” (…) “NOCK chair Kipchoge Keino dismissed the claims saying every athlete was given enough kits.”There is no problem with uniforms. All the athletes were e given enough pairs of uniform,” said Keino. One member who traveled with Ruto to Rio, however, faulted CS Wario and his PS for the problems that faced the athletes in Rio” (Mwalimu, 2016).
CS for Sports and Culture Hassan Wario Speaks:
“Nock officials were being chauffeured around in limousines. I walked to most of the venues where Kenyan athletes were competing and some of them were five kilometres away” (…) “The Rio Olympics will go down as one of the Kenya’s best ever, in terms of performance. But what people are seeing are unnecessary problems entirely created by guys managing the team” (…) “Nock are the ones who draw up the list of the athletes and the travelling team. They are the ones to accredit all members of the travelling team. I, too, had to request Nock officials to get me into the Olympic village because I did not have the right accreditation from them. There are some things that went wrong, but we could not help because whenever we try to do so, Nock says they are independent” (…) “We also need a new team at Nock, which is 21st century in thinking. Some of the current officials have been in office for more than 30 years. They operate in a cartel-like manner. They ensure they vote one another to office in perpetuity” (…) “I am the one who prepared his itinerary in Rio. It is just that when he landed, I was caught in a traffic jam coming from cheering Okwiri (boxer Rayton Okwiri). I called the DP and requested that I meet him at his hotel together with the Kenyan team” (…) “We paid Sh800,000 into the accounts of each of the athletes a week before travelling to the Olympics. There are only four cases which we shall solve soon. We shall add each one another Sh150,000 as a token of appreciation. The cheque is being prepared” (Kipchumba, 2016).
Alleged stealing kits:
“Mr Robert Lotwis, a Nike executive, wrote to Nock: “Dear FK (Francis Paul, the Nock Secretary General). I have not heard back from you around any of the product issues I have emailed you about. I have sent you a list of product that was sent and you received. “I don’t understand why I have athletes both here (in Rio) and back in Nairobi saying they did not receive the products. I’m asking again for an explanation. I’ve also listed what each track (athletics) athlete should receive in a pack. I’ve also relisted below what was sent to Nock. Please respond with an explanation on why athletes are saying they are not getting all the products they should.” (…) “In an invoice mailed to Nock, which is in our possession, Nike shipped a huge consignment of kits to Kenya, which confirms claims raised by Mr Korir. For example, they sent 450 bags but very few were distributed to athletes. Nike labelled a clear distribution order of the consignment on what each athlete would receive” (Komen, 2016).
What we can questioning is how much does the NIKE Corporation accept to have their name on the Apparel for Olympic runners in global sports events like the Olympics and World Cup. The Kenyan Runners are famous and together with Ethiopians has a running tradition when it comes to sports. That is something the Nike Corporation has supported and been a sponsor for decades.
This seems okay that they are paying facilitation fees to the Kenyan Officials because Marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge wins Gold on 42 kilometre Marathon while wearing the NIKE Apparel shirt. The reason why they have the Sponsorship with the National Olympic Committee – Kenya (NOCK) and Athletics Kenya (AK); are there to make the company get a feel good vibe and be there with the right people even if they are bribing officials to get it there; doesn’t seem like a problem for NIKE. I am sure NIKE has some good deals with the FIFA organizations as they want the Governing Football body to be associated with the Nike brand.
That the NIKE Company accepts deal which CS Hassan Wario calls Sports Cartels as they are licensing the sports and delegating the teams for the Olympics. Therefore they knew how much Apparel they would need; still they had the greed to sell it. This shows the length the Officials who are in charge of the deals and facilitation of the Athletes and their trainers for the competitions like Rio 2016. The ironic is how much money the Sport Organizations gets from Sponsorships and apparel; still the Gold Medal winner of Marathon today Elihud Kipchoge didn’t get picked up on the Airport or even scheduled by the Athletics Kenya or the National Olympic Committee Kenya. He was driven by a Ugandan Athlete to his destination instead, which shows the brotherhood of East Africa, but also the indifference from the AK and NOCK. This should worry NIKE who pays fortunes to have their name on their Apparel and are affiliated with the corrupt behaviour.
The Kenyan Officials are earning funds and even thieving to earn extra out of the deal. As much as the Government also gives funds for the Kenyan Athletes as they represent the Nation at the Rio Olympics. That because of the issues with funding, apparel and the rest Deputy President Willam Ruto had to show up. Sure not just drive limousines with other officials to the stadiums, but hopefully to get clarity in the scandal of NOCK.
So it proves the systematic use of the sports to gain personal gains for the Sports Organizations as they use sponsorship deals to earn more shillings. The BOBs must be spent on more heavy things as the total amount of monies can be used on more than chapaties. The scandal makes the Kenyan Sports look bad, when they could be looking shiny. Instead of the representation and golds will not glimmer because of the artistic ways of diminishing money and plans that the Gold Winner of today might have felt twice with the problems of Nike Apparel and the left behind in Rio before coming to the Olympic village. That shouldn’t be an issue for well-funded organizations who are sponsored by Multi-National Corporations and Tax-Payers Monies to deliver results for the common good.
The Sports results and gotten metals for the Kenyans and that should be celebrated. But the organizations behind it should deserve to scrutinize for their economic behaviour and their organizational work towards their athletes before the Rio Olympics and during. The Athletes shouldn’t be in the cross-fire for Apparel before their time to start doing their thing as Olympians.
If there is nothing backfiring the Organizers and the men and woman who run them; then the Government are actually fuelling and accepting their corrupt behaviour earned on the sweet and tears on the athletes. Peace.
Gettleman, Jeffrey – ‘Money Given to Kenya, Since Stolen, Puts Nike in Spotlight’ (05.03.2016) link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/world/africa/nike-under-scrutiny-as-payments-for-kenya-runners-are-drained.html?_r=0
Makori, Elias – ‘Freshly kitted Kenya track team ready for the Ethiopians’ (18.07.2016) link: http://www.ipsos.co.ke/NEWBASE_EXPORTS/Unilever/160718_Daily%20Nation%20-%20Monday_50_b9066.pdf
Mwalimu, Kaka – ‘Revealed: Why Uhuru sent Ruto to Rio de Janeiro’ (19.08.2016) link: http://www.hivisasa.com/kisii/news/163517
Kipchumba, Some – ‘I’m not to blame, Nock is a cartel, says Sports CS Wario’ (21.08.2016) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/news/I-am-also-a-victim-of-Rio-Olympics-cartel-says-minister/1056-3352298-95os78/
Komen, Jonathan – ‘Nike alleges shoplifting, seeks answers from Kenya team managers’ (20.08.2016)