Many people who have a high fever can barely watch basketball, let alone play it at a championship level. So an ad that implies Michael Jordan's gulping of Gatorade helped him beat the flu in a 1997 NBA Finals game has one watchdog group calling foul.
The Public Health Advocacy Institute has urged the Federal Trade Commission to yank the ad because it encourages teen athletes to play through a dangerous condition when they should be home in bed.
In a letter reported by USA Today, the institute told the FTC: "The Jordan Ad openly promotes engaging in vigorous physical activity while suffering from a very high fever, in Jordan's case 103 degrees. 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."
Gatorade parent PepsiCo had no comment, the newspaper reported.
The institute elaborated on its website: "The FTC should order PepsiCo to engage in corrective advertising that advises teens to not engage in physical activity when they have the flu or are suffering from a fever, describes the dangers of competing in sports when ill, and clearly states that Gatorade is not intended to be used to enhance the athletic performance of teens who are suffering from the flu or a fever."
With commentary provided by former Bulls coach Phil Jackson, the "Win From Within" spot (above) shows Jordan suffering, sipping and finally winning.
If only Gatorade could help the ailing team that Jordan owns. The Charlotte Bobcats finished this season with a record of 7-59, the worst NBA winning percentage ever.