Technical Foul: Congratulating Michael Jordan
To celebrate the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the grocery store chain Jewel-Osco was considering an advertisement in a commemorative edition of Sports Illustrated magazine. The proposed advertisement featured basketball shoes, the number “23,” and a short paragraph that wittily included a phrase similar to Jewel-Osco’s tag line. Jewel-Osco did not have Michael Jordan’s permission to use his name or number. The proposed advertisement posed legal and management dilemmas for Jewel-Osco. A celebrity such as Michael Jordan has publicity rights to control his image, but the First Amendment gives broad protections to the right to speak; and our society values the ability to discuss, comment, and share newsworthy events. Should Jewel-Osco run the congratulatory advertisement?