Is it really dangerous to want to be like Mike? The Public Health Advocacy Institute certainly thinks so. The group has petitioned for the Federal Trade Commission to pull a Gatorade ad that champions Michael Jordan’s famous 1997 NBA Finals performance, during which he fought through a 103-degree fever to lead his team to victory. The ad, tagged with the title “Win From Within,” shows Jordan suffering from flu symptoms during the game, but eventually overcoming it, while drinking Gatorade along the way. The institute claims that the glorification of Jordan’s decision to play could lead viewers to try to imitate him.
“The Jordan Ad openly promotes engaging in vigorous physical activity while suffering from a very high fever, in Jordan’s case 103 degrees,” The institute said in its letter to the FTC via USA Today. “It is a generally recognized safety principle that teens and even professional athletes suffering from a severe fever and flu-like symptoms should not engage in vigorous physical activity.”
PepsiCo, Gatorade’s parent company, has yet to respond to the PHAI. The group’s website suggested that PepsiCo should create an ad campaign to inform teens and potential consumers that not only is it dangerous to compete while sick, but also that Gatorade cannot treat flu symptoms.