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Let's Talk About Professional Combat

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Still don't understand what Nike was going for here.
Still don't understand what Nike was going for here.

NBC, in the wake of their vapid coverage of tape-delayed Olympics, has been getting (rightfully) killed for their latest abomination of reality TV, "Stars Earn Stripes". It says a lot about our society now that our military-worship has morphed into turning something like war into a reality TV competition in attempts to generate ad revenue, and none of it is good.

It'd baffle me that this show wound its way through the various stages of productions and didn't result in the immediate firing of whatever suit-clad half-wit who suggested it, but this appears to be the world we now live; twenty first century America is so neat and authentic.

This shit has even seeped its way into college football. Every year, Nike releases remixes on various collegiate team's football jerseys. They call this parade of horribles their "Pro Combat" series. Pro, I assume, is short for professional, which is hilarious the NCAA allows it, considering they've spent the better part of this decade telling us these kids are anything but "professional".

But the irony gets even more sadistic because there's actual professional combat happening that results in American lives being lost in places even more remote than Starkville, Mississippi, places most college football fans probably can't even find on a map.

And when this is pointed out to people, some of them will guffaw and say, "Well, by golly, the kids like it!" Because I guess critical thinking should be shelved on behalf of the whims and tastes of testosterone-addled 18-22 year old boys.

It only takes one word to describe how these will look in twenty years: "stupid", but this won't stop colleges from pimping their "student-athletes" as easels for billion dollar corporations like Nike.

If internet rumors are to be believed, maybe when the NCAA brings the house down on Oregon, people will start to question the ongoing fusion of athletic companies and football programs, but I doubt it. More likely: Oregon fans will cry foul, the nation will shrug and continue gawking at this years' Pro Combat gallery, and Nike will continue sparking blunts rolled with million dollar banknotes.

At this rate, Pro Combats will become a yearly tradition in of itself. That's probably the end-game for Nike, because hey, we all know how much college football fans love their "tradition". If every last dime isn't going to something like the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, it's not just patronizing student athletes, recruits, and merch hungry fans, but the very last people we should be showing disrespect in the first place.