Reebok, Are Their Masks Workout Friendly?
The Covid-19 pandemic caught the
whole world by surprise back in March. The year had so far been like any other
year. All of a sudden, the coronavirus is all over the news and we’re told to
start social distancing. Then it started to get crazier, you see some people
wearing masks, some schools are closing it seems like the whole world was in a
panic. Before we know it, we can’t leave our homes and seeing our extended
families through facetime and zoom calls. Restaurants are closed only allowing
take out, and the icing on the cake, every sport was stopped in its tracks.
Before we knew it, the virus had consumed all our attention, and people started
to ask, what’s going to happen after this? What is the normal going to look
like when we’re out of this lockdown? How are we going to stop the spread of
this virus? Scientists determined the virus is spread by respiratory droplets.
Respiratory droplets can be spread by coughing and sneezing. The best that we
can do is reduce the number of droplets we spread in the air, the only way we
can do that is through masks. Scientists determined that 20-500 micrometers or
droplets can be generated from a person from saying a single phrase. A study of
people who had influenza showed that wearing a mask reduced the amount of the
virus emitted in droplets. Before we knew it everywhere you went you saw
everyone in a mask.
The demand for masks skyrocket once the country started to open up again. With some state governments introducing a mask mandate, everyone needs a mask. Clothing and athletic wear companies see this as a huge opportunity to make a lot of money. Reebok is a company who makes athletic shoes and clothing. Reebok decided to create a mask and sell it to the public. The main advertising point that Reebok has for this product is “Comfortable. Washable. Reusable.”. The description for the mask is that it is made with soft breathable fabric. It is comfortable, washable, and reusable, and it can help prevent the spread of viruses and germs through water droplet transmissions. The masks come in a three pack for $30.00, overall, not a bad price. The mask is 93% polyester and 7% elastane, machine washable and has stretching earl loops. Reebok describes the masks as made with soft breathable two-layer fabric with stretchy ear loops for tight coverage. The mask is all black with the white Reebok logo on the left cheek of the mask. On the Reebok website the accompanying photos are all of people doing some sort of exercise with the mask on.
Masks will always be criticized for their breathability. Everyone wants to be able to breath like normal when they are in public situations while also following the guidelines put into place by the state. Every company that produces masks claim to have made a breathable and comfortable mask. Reebok is no different advertising their mask as “soft and breathable”. It’s one thing to advertise a breathable mask, but it’s another thing to actually produce a mask that is
breathable to the average person. Not only breathable in relaxed public settings, but also while going on a run or doing an intense workout. Emmanuel San Gil is a trainer who is a professional in fitness reviewed the Reebok mask. He used the Reebok mask on a five-kilometer run where his heart rate was 118 beats per minute and his oxygen levels were 98. He came to the conclusion that this mask was viable for use in a running workout. A youtuber by the name of Cambrioto said the mask was comfortable and noticed when talking, the mask did not fall down below the nose. Additionally, a customer by the name of Brandon reviewed the Reebok facemask as a “Great product: Fits well and breathable; I can use it during workouts and around town.”. Other customers have also written about their experiences like Rusty who said the mask was “Absolutely perfect. Very comfortable. Excellent quality.”. The reviews are mostly positive.
Reebok was established in 1958, and ever since they have been making clothes that perform while partaking in athletic activity. As a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Reebok shifted some of its resources to start producing masks. Trying to make a comfortable, breathable, and functional mask is a tough task. You have companies who have been making facemasks for years who still cannot make them comfortable or breathable. So, for a company that started producing masks nine months ago the mask they are producing is pretty solid. Most of the reviews are positive, and say that the mask is very comfortable, as advertised. The masks coming in a three pack for only $30.00 is not taking advantage of their customers.
The stakeholders in this situation are the company of Reebok, the customers and the
investors of Reebok. Reebok are the ones tasked with creating the mask, producing it and then selling it to their customers as advertised. The customers purchase the mask giving the company money in exchange for the mask. The customer wears the mask in public scenarios if they deem the mask to be comfortable, breathable, and effective. The investors are the ones who have given their money to Reebok for production. The investors expect their money back, so Reebok has to think of ideas to maximize their profit to make their investors happy. In this case they came up with producing and selling masks. So far they are keeping their investors very happy with the return of money.
Kantian ethics refers to not using people as a mere means to an end, and not being deceitful and lying to others. A company has to have the right motives and intentions in order for them to follow Kantian ethics. When it comes to Kantian ethics Reebok does nothing wrong here. They made a product, advertised it as comfortable, breathable, and capable of performing during exercise and if you look at what the people who have used the product are saying it does just that. On a third-party website out of over 1,200 reviews there are 1,000 four or five stars. The people who have used the mask have backed up Reebok’s claims. Reebok did not lie to the public, they delivered on everything that their advertisement and description said. The people of the United States were in an uproar when states began to instate a mask mandate. Claiming they cannot breathe when they have the mask on. Reebok saw the complaints of the public and decided to capitalize on that market. They saw the people in need of a comfortable breathable mask and made a comfortable, breathable mask. This would not necessarily follow Kantian ethics if they claimed to have made a breathable and comfortable mask if the customers completely disagreed. As we saw from the reviews of the mask, the people who have bought it, love it. They claim it is exactly as advertised. Reebok did not just use their customers for their money and give them a bad mask. Therefore, referring to Kantian ethics they have done nothing wrong with their production and selling of their facemasks.
Referring to the price of the masks, also reinforces the fact that Reebok does nothing wrong under the Kantian ethical theory. As mentioned before the Reebok masks are in a package of three for $30.00, making them $10.00 per mask. Looking at other masks online made of the same material, that price is very reasonable. With most of the masks being sold for between around $8.99 and 12.99. with their prices being pretty reasonable, it proves that the company of Reebok is not using their customers for their money. If they were, they would sell them a mask that is double the price as other polyester masks.
Individualism refers to the company maximizing profits for their stakeholders within the law. In this case Reebok saw an opportunity with the pandemic going on. They saw how much the demand for masks and face coverings went up and decided to capitalize on it. According to NBC news, Reebok facemasks are the 15th most bought facemask in the united states as of October 22nd. Reebok definitely maximized their profits because they could have just sat their and did nothing. They could have told themselves that they are a clothing company so they should not be making masks. If they had done that, they would not have been maximizing their profits. Everything that they did with the production and the selling of the masks was within the law. The masks are also not crazy over-priced, so the company is not trying to take advantage of people. Based on the reviews they did not lie to the public, so Reebok does not conflict with individualism in this scenario.
Utilitarianism aims to maximize happiness. The company of Reebok is maximizing happiness. The people who buy the facemasks are happy that they now have three masks that are capable of exercise. The people who buy the masks are happy they have a comfortable and breathable mask they can wear out in public. People were unhappy with the mask mandate because they would have their air restricted. They were unhappy that while they were in public, they would be unable to breath because of the mask. If these people bought the Reebok mask, they would have their main complaint taken care of. They now have a mask that they won’t even notice they have on when they are in public. The company is happy because they are making more money than they would usually make. Normally they would just be receiving the profits from people purchasing their shoes sweatshirts and other athletic apparel. Now that they have started producing facemasks, they have even more profit that they did not have in years past. The investors are getting more of a return in their investments because the company is making more money. The Reebok investors are very happy with the amount of extra money the company will be making this year. In this situation every stakeholder is happy, so Reebok is acting under utilitarianism.
Utilitarianism also focuses on bettering society, which in this case Reebok is doing. Reebok is keeping people safe when they are in public with the production of a facemask. They are also making a mask that people find comfortable and breathable, so more people will be happy or willing to wear a mask while they are in public. Thus, helping stop the spread of Covid-19.
Virtue theory refers to the four cardinal virtues, honesty, courage, justice, temperance, and prudence. If one of the virtues is not present, then it fails under virtue theory. Honesty would mean being truthful to the people you are selling your product to. As mentioned before the reviews of the product reflect that Reebok was honest with the advertisement of this product. The mask does exactly what the company said it would and for the most part people have no complaints. Courage can be summarized as risk taking. The company of Reebok took a risk with their decision to start selling masks. They had never produced facemasks or coverings before. Having never produced something before no matter how large the demand, is a risk by itself. They were successful in taking this risk because they produced a mask that the public likes. Another cardinal virtue is temperance. Temperance refers to self-restraint or a company’s ability to have self-control. Reebok showed its self-control with the price they set for the mask. $10.00 for a mask made of polyester is not a bad price. For the quality mask that they have produced they could have been selling it for a much higher price a people would probably still purchase it. Finally, the fourth virtue theory is prudence which is justice. Justice is the moral obligation to at on the basis of lawfulness. The mask that Reebok produces is within the law and it also checks off fairness because it gives people a chance to purchase an affordable polyester mask. Reebok checks off all the boxes for the cardinal virtues, so the company is acting ethically under virtue theory.
Justification Ethics Evaluation
Reebok saw a need that people had a produced a product that fulfilled that need. They acted ethically while doing so as well. Reebok does not fail under any of the ethical theories. They maximized their profit by diving into a new market. They maximized happiness by producing something that would make their profits go up and make their customers happy. They fall under all of the cardinal virtues. Therefore, reebok acted completely ethical in the production of their masks.
Malin, Zoe, and Shop TODAY. “Face Masks: The Most Purchased Masks We've Recently Covered.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 6 Nov. 2020, www.nbcnews.com/shopping/apparel/popular-face-masks-cdc-valves-n1236806.