Monday, October 21, 2013

1242 The Body Exchange or IPO for a Running Back

1242 The Body Exchange or IPO For a Running Back

Hey, Wanna Buy a Black Man?

Wait.  Wanna WHAT?  

You heard right.  

But the Constitution…

Yeah, yeah, the constitution bans all that kind of thing. Slavery went out with… well, slavery.

Not so fast.

A startup company which pictures itself as something like a stock exchange says it will try to sell shares in athletes.  Starting price, ten bucks a pop.  Minimum purchase $50.  In return, investors receive a sliver of his or her earnings.

First man on the auction block is running back Arian Foster of the NFL expansion Houston Texans.  By all accounts he’s a good guy and a fairly good player with a modestly good future.

And of course if he puts himself on the block... no one’s forcing him.  But it's much easier to climb up than climb down.

The spirit of American entrepreneurship is alive and well.  And so is the spirit of the Confederacy.  It’s been a long time since we divided individual human beings into fractions and considered them worth so and so much of a person.

Of course, this being the age of nominal equality, your purchase does not have to be black or even male.  Feel free to buy shares in one of those Hispanic or Japanese or white baseball players.  Maybe one of those Russian tennis ladies.

And why limit it to athletes?  What’s a share of the Kardashians worth.  “Hey, did you check out Miley Cyrus? Her stock is up 3% since the twerking incident and the wrecking ball video.”

“My stock in Ted Cruz is up a couple of points because he raised all that money during the government shutdown.”

“Oh, did I take a bath on my shares of Joanna Chmielewska.  Not only hasn’t she written a bestseller in years, but she upped and died.”

Stock in human beings?  They’re serious.  They’re not kidding.

(Stock tip: Don’t buy into Wessays™ if it’s offered.  The guy has never earned a nickel from the blog and is unlikely to get endorsement offers from Nike, Gold Bond, Buick or Velveeta.)

Back to Arian Foster.  He IS likely to have a decent career and he’s the caliber of athlete the people who buy endorsements sometimes go for.  So the stock may go up.

Unless, of course, Foster is injured.  Or he continues this season’s less than stellar performance on the field.  Or decides to give up football to take a job with the State Department.

What do you suppose happens if someone tries to corner the market in Foster? What if the potential corner-er is the owner of a rival team?

Will there be an annual shareholder meeting?  If so, it’ll probably be the only one in history to have a full house.  Of course, like most corporations they’ll probably hold it in some convenient, accessible place.  Like Greenland.  Or Laos.

Can someone build a Berkshire-Hathaway type investment company or a mutual fund that holds stock in Foster and whoever else comes along?  What about a futures market?  Or a commodity trading desk.  Can you see these big name people mentioned in the same breath as London Gold, Light Sweet Crude or coffee, corn, wheat and hog bellies?

You have to think that Foster himself hasn’t thought much about the pre civil war aspects of this project.  Or maybe he has and just doesn’t care.

Attempts to reach principals in the startup have so far failed.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013

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