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New Nike Ads: Are They Homophobic, Or Simply Concerned About Those Who Have Suffered A Dunking?

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Seen the newest series of Nike ads? It’s your standard sports scene: two basketball players in a tight action shot, but with a catch—there’s usually one player either reaching for, elbowing away, or simply being face-masked by airborne player’s package. This is supposed to represent act of being “dunkd,” the painful moment in which the player finds himself the victim of a “dunking,” meaning he has been “dunked upon.”

The ads, for the company’s new Hyperdunk shoes, include a “crisis phone line” which you can call if you’ve been a victim of said offense. My first thought was that the campaign was rather clever and funny, especially when I called the hotline and spoke with a “crisis counselor.” I made small talk by commenting on the cleverness of the ads and threw in a query about public relations. The counselor informed me that she was sorry but she could only address “issues regarding dunking trauma.” Cute stuff.

Then the tide began to turn.