by Brendan Dunne
New Balance took aim at Nike this week, posting a message on newbalance.com criticizing the latter's slogan that, "If you have a body, you are an athlete."
New Balance's original message, which appeared on the New Balance Digital Sport page reads:
"All of a sudden, everyone’s an athlete. It doesn’t matter if they’ve ever actually competed in anything. Sometimes they change into different clothes and increase their activity level. And this, the thinking goes, qualifies them as athletes. Which is unfortunate, because it means actual athletes are left without much of an identity. They’re lumped in with anyone who has a body. Having a body doesn’t make you an athlete. It’s only when you enter that body in competition, and endeavor to beat other people who also have bodies, that you become an athlete."
The Greek word Athlein means 'someone who enters a contest.' Not, 'someone who, like, exists.'"
It appears to have been taken down sometime yesterday, although Google's cached version of the page still has the original text at the time of writing.
The message calls out Nike's inclusive slogan without calling out the brand by name. It's the most direct toward the end with "Having a body doesn't make you an athlete."
It appears that New Balance later changed the text, updating it with a new message more focused on the brand's own efforts.
The current version of the site leaves the message out entirely.
When reached for a comment on the message, New Balance responded with its own commitment to athletes.
“Our brand is dedicated to inspiring athletes around the world, both professional and everyday, to reach for and achieve their goals, and then reset them," wrote Amy Dow, New Balance's Senior Global Corporate Communications Manager, via email. "New Balance has a long-standing commitment to continually push forward, to improve and aggressively deliver our best to our loyal consumers.”