How you spend your time and your money has an ethical responsibility factor that has to be considered. We vote for our politicians every 2-4 years. We vote with our dollars every single day. We need to choose which businesses we desire to support based on the ethical implications of their actions. Which is why I am very deliberate in deciding what businesses I choose to support. I meet people every day who are extremely concerned about the environmental implications of what they consume. I respect the people who refuse to buy plastic, or use Styrofoam, or to eat meat. Should we not be as judicious in the way we spend our money?
I love football. It’s as American as Apple Pie. I refuse to watch the NFL for two reasons. The fact that players are allowed to kneel during the national anthem is not something I will support. Additionally, I believe there is not a strict enough code of conduct enforced for the actions of players off of the field. These men are role models for young men. They should be held to the highest standard. The NFL refuses to do so. So, I refuse to support them. Mercedes Benz corporation, BMW, and Hugo boss all benefitted from the slave labor propagated by concentration camps created by the Nazi Party in WWII. I refuse to purchase their products. I won’t shop at Walmart because of the way they treat employees, and deal with suppliers is unethical in my opinion. Mostly because I don’t like supporting their stranglehold on the market.
Allow me to clarify a couple of things for those of you who are huffing and hawing right now. I will be the first to state that it is any person’s First Amendment right to demonstrate and speak in any manner they deem fit. I swore an oath to support and defend that right. At the same time, the fact that a person would kneel in front of the same flag that is draped across the coffins of those who lost their lives defending that right, gives me cause to refuse to support an organization that allows it. As far as I am concerned it is up to the Supreme Court to determine if the NFL can prevent their players from kneeling during the National Anthem. Get ready for it. Do I judge people for slugging down beers and eating chicken wings while grown men toss the pig skin on Sunday? Absolutely not. Do I want people to consider the ethical implications of their spending? Most Definitely.
I spent the morning interviewing fellow Marine Infantry Officer and now Entrepreneur Mike Steadman. He’s the “Wartime CEO” of ironbound boxing. They’re a hybrid company that has a for profit arm and a 501-3 C nonprofit arm. The profit arm shows up at businesses and organizations and provides boxing classes to participants in order to promote health, wealth, team-building and overall morale improvement. The Non-profit arm runs a boxing gym in the inner-city of Newark, New Jersey. The Boxing Gym funnels inner-city youth into an environment and arena of positivity, and off of the street. Now you need to understand what Mike is doing and you will learn more about him in a future episode of the podcast.
Mike is a guy with a bachelor’s degree from the Naval Academy. He went on to become an Infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. A skill-set that makes any individual a force to be reckoned with. He has a Master of Arts in American Studies from Rutgers and he has even graduated from the Stanford Ignite program for entrepreneurs. This guy could land a job at any firm and they would be more than lucky to have him. He eats, breaths, and sleeps with an energy that is unmatched. He could go into any career that could pad his pockets nicely.
Instead Mike went to the inner-city to find youth who needed an area to develop and be surrounded by positive role models. To do so he had to turn down the dollars and choose being a part of a struggling community. He even had the tires stolen off of his car after moving into Newark. He followed a difficult path to reach the position he is in right now. He struggled. He moved forward and struggled again. Now he has plans to make the Ironbound Boxing Brand an internationally recognized name. Spend five minutes with the man and watch one video on his Instagram and you will believe that he is definitely capable of doing so.
Our country needs more entrepreneurs like Mike and our citizens need to support a man like him. He is engrained in the community, and he is giving back. Every step he takes keeps young men from the inner-city in mind. If you want to support a company or an individual that will benefit society it is Iron-bound boxing. I know that I will be purchasing an Iron Bound Boxing shirt immediately to represent for the cause.
I will leave you with this. Peter Thiel’s speech at the National Conservatism Conference really nailed a lot of the things we need entrepreneurs and consumers to consider in their actions. He pointed out that “Nationalism is not my country, right or wrong. It is: How does my country compare to other countries? Nationalism is going to be extremely critical, not unreflective.” I agree with a lot of Thiel’s ideals and disagree with others. What I can’t argue with is entrepreneurs assisting in solving our nation’s problems. Mike Steadman made a good point in a discussion with me today that I want to leave you with. We can take a hard stance on certain issues, but when something is wrong we need to come out and admit it, even if it doesn’t support some hidden agenda that aligns with our ideals.