Monday, September 5, 2011

Who knew??? Adidias vs. Puma (friend or foe)?

First off, I’m 44 years old and a self acclaimed well read writer. However, my 16 y/o daughter brought to my attention a "should be known" fact. 

Let me begin by saying I grew up the age of Run DMC and the American shoe (at least I thought) Adidias! Now, I'm a huge Puma fan (my comfort, stylish shoe of choice at least nowadays). What I did not know was that the two founders of both companies were brothers.

Adolph and Rudolf Dassler are the creators of  Adidas (named for Founder AdiDassler) & Puma (by his brother Rudolf). The shoe companies began their roots dating back to pre-WWII. In fact, I was totally shocked to discover that they were the first to offer a “sponsorship” to a black athlete.

In 1936 during the Summer Olympics (held in Berlin, Germany), the brothers urged legendary Jesse Owens to wear their shoe. Now, I’m not sure if it was the shoes but Mr. Owens went on to win 4 Gold Medals that year.

This is where the story gets a bit tricky. Both brothers were members of the Nazi Party during the war. Although many have written that it was Rudolf that was the more vigilant towards its beliefs, I certainly don’t see the connection with supporting a black athlete from the US who’s competing in Germany against German Athletes. Then, in just a few short years join a party that hates everything not pure Anglo-Saxon (which by the way is even more bizarre since Hitler was not…pure blood Anglo).

 Fast forward 50 years, a black rap group put Adidias on the mainstream map and the other company Puma cut its teeth as a very reputable “football” (we call it soccer) shoe which is played by many ethnically based countries like Kenya, Uruguay, France, Brazil, Japan to name a few. Both companies have been highly supported in our African-American communities! 

So which is it?

Are both companies spin-offs from an old Nazi regime and now are being funded by billions of African-American dollars annually or are we merely giving thanks to founders who believed in and supported the “Negro” man long before it was fashionable by Nike & Converse?

At any rate let me know what you think and big thanks to my teenager Shaunsey King for bringing this quandary to mind!!

Milano Flascucci~


  1. When I read this I only think of $$$. A business man will support anything, or anyone, that will bring in money for their company, regardless of his personal beliefs. So the fact that they would endorse a black athlete doesn't surprise me. It makes me believe that they were well focused on their bottom line, while others were still too blinded by ignorance to make deals that would benefit their businesses.

    On another note, there were many Germans a part of the Nazi party or in the Nazi army, not because they wanted to be, or agreed with the Nazi philosophy, but because they were scared. "You're either with us...or we kill you," was the recruitment speech. So I guess I'd be more willing to look at the brothers' reasons for joining. Maybe they did lap up the Nazi message...but then again, maybe they were just looking to save their own ass-ets (lol)

    Either way the question remains, what is the company's philosophy today? Bigotry and racism stem from ignorance and fear, but many people who were once bigots are now "enlightened" people. You have the children of bigots and racists refusing to follow in the footsteps of their elders. I'm very interested in what the current mindset of both companies is.

  2. I concur. I often tell people there is no black and white. Only Green and Green and the goal is to have more of the later. An opportunity is an opportunity and I applaud the would be anti-anything non-anglo gentlemen for knowing that this brother would seal their fate in the footwear world and not being ashamed to endorse him. They saw the dollars and not the color of his skin. Oft times, the true racist, puritan doesn't even care how much money you will bring, they just want nothing to do with any others....PERIOD. Even major grocery chains realize that the top dollar for their businesses is in the inner city neighborhoods, but with guarantee to triple profits,still, they don't want to be associated with that "demographic".