Perhaps youâ€™ve heard: Nike and Colin Kaepernick have teamed up to create a potent advertising campaign, a defiant political statement applauding the former NFL quarterback for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police killings of unarmed black men.
You can see it in magazines, on television and in billboards across the country.
But you wonâ€™t see it yet in the common space almost all New Yorkers use daily: on subway cars, in subway tunnels or on city buses.
After trying and failing under an old policy to block a few message ads that made them queasy - basic First Amendment principle says you canâ€™t discriminate on the basis of viewpoint - the folks who run the Metropolitan Transportation Authority took the cowardâ€™s way out.
The MTA banned any and all â€śads that prominently or predominantly advocate or express political messages.â€ť
Even as train cars are plastered with politically tinged taxpayer-funded public service announcements, many of which carry the name of elected officials, as well as ads for breast enhancement and erectile dysfunction products.
So, if Nike wants to reach electric railroad riders with its electric new campaign (and why wouldnâ€™t they?), the folks who run the subways will have a choice:
Pretend the ads arenâ€™t political and let them through - even as they ban ads that support standing for the anthem.
Or acknowledge that the ads are political, and reveal the absurdity of shielding New Yorkers, in their subways, from a campaign thatâ€™s as ubiquitous in America as they come.
The adâ€™s tagline: Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.
The MTAâ€™s ad mantra: Believe in nothing. Even if it means making yourself look utterly ridiculous.