Turns out that the secret to David Beckham’s amazing form in the field was not only because of his skills but also his controversial shoes. The shoes in question were designed in collaboration with Adidas and featured kangaroo leather. This fiasco took place back in 2006 and immediately sparked criticism from activists around the world. Things were made worse after the famous footballer released a statement defending the use of kangaroo leather in accessories. But after finding out, how the goods were exported from Australia where the use of such material unethically is strictly prohibited, he boycotted the item.

Beckham as well as Adidas switched to synthetic fabrics and later issued a statement explaining their sides. In this article, the infamous 2006 controversy is discussed in detail.

David Beckham
David Beckham

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The Kangaroo Leather Shoe Debate

David Beckham found himself amidst a very serious controversy and under severe hot water after signing a multi-million-dollar deal with the lifestyle as well as sports accessories company Adidas. The shoes were from a collection called, Predator football which was made from kangaroo skin. Although the Australian government allows hunting for commercial usage and from sustainable populations, it was alleged by animal rights activists, that the football player was almost swatted for his “unsustainable approach”.

Later, both the player and the company revealed a statement addressing the controversy. Beckham ensured that he is not new to using kangaroo leather in his shoes and is aware of the controversy surrounding it. Therefore, understands exactly where the misunderstanding took place in the debate. He then pointed out that it was all made from ethically sourced material.

The Adidas Predetor
The Adidas Predator collection

Australian agricultural minister, Warren Truss also confirmed his statement saying,

“Harvesting is closely regulated and monitored to ensure the long-term sustainability of kangaroos and Australia’s unique ecosystems,”

He stated the kangaroos are killed by professional marksmen who had to follow certain codes of conduct and thus the process is carried out in a very humane way. Adidas also released a response, stating the sourcing is done only by the suppliers following the code of conducts strictly as they take the matter of animal welfare very seriously. The material is highly tensile and is often used in sports gear thus uncompromisable according to Adidas.

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What made David Beckham ditch the item?

The footballer was unwavering in his discussion until the end, but watching a cruel video of the actual process of gathering the materials caused him to reconsider. The gruesome video sent to him by an animal activist group, showed the mistreatment of baby kangaroos for profits of over $16 million. The kangaroos were allegedly beaten to death, thus leading David Beckham to reconsider his decisions.

David Beckham in field
David Beckham in the field

He then switched to synthetic fabrics which provided the same results as the previous one. Therefore, despite many people supporting Beckham for wearing kangaroo skin, he backed out of the deal. The debate is still very much relevant. This controversy highlights very complex issues of animal welfare rights and the sustainable and ethical practice of “harvesting”.

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Source: Independent

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