Former basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal is receiving backlash for his new soda line. At 90 calories per serving, the three-serving cans of Soda Shaq Cream Soda contain 270 calories, and 72 grams of sugar. That is 17 teaspoons of cane sugar in a single can. An athlete supporting a drink that could potentially lead to health problems? Does something seem off here?
The Center for Science in the Public Interest thinks so. The group is not letting O’Neal slide with this beverage; they are finding Shaq’s endorsement with Arizona Beverages to contrast with his previous statements and support of the struggle with diabetes and obesity. Executive director of the group Michael F. Jacobson is classifying Shaq’s new deal as “shameful hypocrisy.”
Just like other celebrities, Shaquille O’Neal can use his face, name, and reputation to promote products; but just like other celebrities, they face the risk of criticism if others find fault in the method or ethics behind the endorsement. Beyoncé is another example of a celebrity going under fire for a soda promotion; her recent Pepsi ad faced similar reactions from health and fitness groups.