The Jets and Giants recently ceased conversations with Allianz about corporate naming rights for their new stadium.  Naming rights are granted in exchange for large contributions. The practice does comes with some degree of risk. If the corporation takes a turn for the worse (Enron, for example), or if the team does something incredibly embarrassing, one party could be splattered with the muck hurled at the offender. Due to the large cost of building a stadium, teams and event centers are willing to take the risk. Along with the name, a team assumes any baggage a company might carry.

Enter Allianz. This insurance company refused to pay the policies of Jewish holders during the Holocaust. Furthermore, they gave the money to the Nazi party. As far as public image goes, it doesn’t get much worse. They have actively participated in one of the greatest atrocities in modern history. Their willingness to pay restitution to the descendants of the people they wronged is in question, but they have admitted their role in the atrocity.

People in New York were outraged that the Jets and Giants would even consider talking with a foreign company that was involved with Adolf Hitler himself. Due to the public backlash, discussions for naming rights have ended. There will be no Allianz Stadium in New Jersey (at least not for a NFL team).

Is this right? Are people outraged because this is a foreign company? Would we boycott any company with ties to the Nazi party?

Consider the case of Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company. Ford was the author of a book on anti-Semitism. He benefited from deals with the Germany war machine in WWII. Nevertheless, for eight games a year, the Detroit Lions hit the turf in Ford Field.

Chase Bank had ties to the Nazi party. Like Allianz, they held the assets of Jewish clients after the war and provided banking services to the Nazi party. Some would argue that the Chase logo is a reworked swastika. However, the Arizona Diamondbacks play in Chase Field.

Is the outrage genuine? I am not suggesting that there is not a legitimate gripe, but where is the furor when domestic companies with ties to the Nazi party name stadiums?

Related Links:

New York Times on Allianz
The Konformist on Chase Bank
Six companies sued as benefactors of American slave labor