Athletes Support Obesity

For those who tuned in to the one-sided beat down that was Super Bowl XLVIII, it is tough to look past Peyton Manning’s subpar performance throughout the entire game. For someone who had a record-breaking regular season, coming into the game with the #1 ranked offense in the league, he really failed to deliver.  At least his buddies at Papa Johns can still deliver, and hopefully in 15 minutes or less! Peyton Manning has proven himself to be a heavy endorser of Papa John’s, especially after purchasing 21 franchises in Colorado. Riddle me this, how is it that professional athletes are the best endorsers for unhealthy food choices, yet their physiques and life styles are not aligned with their sponsors? Maybe Peyton made the mistake of actually eating some of the delicious pizza before the big game. Let’s face it; a big greasy pizza is not an ideal pregame meal for any sort of competition. Not to mention how slippery it will leave your fingers (which may result in a few interceptions).

Sponsorships are used in advertising to endorse products through the featured prolific person, whom would assume to be relatable to the product or service. Some people choose their products carefully, whereas others appear to care only about the personal gains. Many sponsorships prove to be for monetary gain when using unrelated people for products. For example, irony is apparent when an athlete endorses an unhealthy food service, such as Anderson Silva, a UFC middleweight champion. Although Anderson also sponsors athletic corporation NIKE, the UFC fighter is a well-known advocate for fast food chain Burger King.

Just a little over a month ago, on one of the most eagerly awaited UFC rematches of all time, Anderson Silva entered the octagon with his Burger King logo stamped right on his thigh.  For those of you unfamiliar with Silva, he is widely regarded as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. However, midway through the second round Silva finished himself by snapping his own shinbone over the side of Chris Weidman’s knee. The type of healthy life style decisions Silva makes in order to be best of the best does not accurately reflect his endorsement for Burger King.


Here the athlete presents himself with a fighting glove in one hand, and a triple burger with bacon in the other. Aside from the fact that the burger is full of some sort of protein, which athletes consume to gain muscle, the advertisement demonstrates a winning athlete endorsing an obvious unhealthy meal. This endorsement, like a few others is an ironic match with an arguably more ironic ending. Furthermore, a burger like such may be easily burned off by the strenuous activity and amount of energy exuded by a professional athlete. The everyday average Joe on the other hand, may only burn off the fries that came in the combo with the enormously sized burger. Professional athletes are then supporting and encouraging the very things that cause obesity within America, just not for their own bodies.

The frequently shown fast food endorsements among some of the most popularly watched professional sports could be an indirect factor and influence of obesity within America right now. If Athletes supported the healthy alternatives instead, perhaps there would be a lesser percentile of overweight and obese diagnoses within the United States. Is fast-food sponsorship among professional athletes problematic, or would sales remain the same among the fast food industry because of the convenience?

-Austin Johnson, Jade Lester, Jami Rogers, Ty Thomas