Published: Nov. 16, 2023

Stefani H  0:07  
Welcome to another episode of Creative Distillation. Your hosts Jeff and Brad from the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business discuss entrepreneurship research while enjoying fine craft beverages.Previously on Creative Distillation. It was the great pumpkin beer episode recorded on location in Jeff's gaming dungeon. He and Brad were joined by CU Assistant Professor for Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Operations Ethan Poskanzer conducting field research in the form of a ranked tasting of several pumpkin beers. This time we're still in Jeff's gaming dungeon, discussing Ethan's recent paper, the career consequences of workplace protests, participation, theory and evidence from the NFL. Take a knee movement, Ethan breaks down the research on employee activism and how it can influence an individual's organizational and labor market mobility outcomes. They investigate this premise with the 2016 National Football League. Take any protests as a strategic research setting. Enjoy and cheers!

Jeff York  1:19  
Welcome to Creative distillation where we distill entrepreneurship, research and actionable insights. I'm your host, Jeff York, research director at the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Boulder. I am joined by my co host,

Brad  1:33  
Brad Warner and Jeff, it's good to see you. I've worked at the Deming Center. I'm an entrepreneur, and I'm looking forward to our guests today because I think we have a yeti expert. Joining us today

Jeff York  1:43  
well why would we be talking about Yeti is because we're still in my gaming. That's right and we have finished our pumpkin beer tasting. We now have pumpkin cookies on the table. I will note that people have dug into the Reese's Peanut Butter skeletons I presented to them as a snack. And I am drinking the pumpkin spice Yeti. Brad I think is switched to October 1 this week. And our guest has switched to absolute pumpkin ale Ethan want to reduce yourself.

Ethan Poskanzer  2:13  
Hey everybody, my name is Ethan poss ganzer I am an assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado. And I believe the recent footage of Bigfoot. Durango is real.

Jeff York  2:27  
So, to clarify something right up front here we're going to talk about a recent paper Ethan's published. First of all, a Yeti is not the same as a Bigfoot. So Brad keeps Miss identifying the Yeti sighting that recently happened in Colorado as I just did it. The Bigfoot sighting in Colorado as a Yeti. Yeah,

Brad  2:48  
so all of you young listeners turn away for a second Yeti. Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster are fake.

Jeff York  2:57  
Oh, well, maybe so maybe not. We've seen some footage

Brad  3:00  
here recently in Colorado. Do you have one you have a model of one?

Jeff York  3:03  
I do have a model of a Yeti. We should definitely use that photo for this episode The Yeti confronting a can of pumpkin spice Yeti.

Ethan Poskanzer  3:13  
I think it should confront that. Hey, pumpkin one.

Jeff York  3:17  
Well, I don't know what the heck we're talking about. Go back and listen to the previous episode. We had our annual pumpkin beer episode. But now we're going to talk about research. So

Brad  3:25  
thinking about research think about this. Maybe Ethan's next paper could be you know, the economic impact of Bigfoot.

Ethan Poskanzer  3:32  
You don't actually I don't know a Bigfoot. But it's occurred to me now that there is a long history of economics, sociology, research on craft beer. pumpkin beer actually kind of is a curious.

Jeff York  3:43  
That's like a unit of organizational ecology

Ethan Poskanzer  3:48  
is like a surprisingly large thing. And I'm surprised I've never seen a pumpkin beer pay for like that, actually, that has potential

Jeff York  3:54  
anything, you know, post tenure you and I have got like all the time and produce these actionable insights about what

Ethan Poskanzer  4:03  
is important.

Jeff York  4:06  
Research Director Eric Miller will be just thrilled if we can produce some insights about pumpkin beers effect on

Brad  4:13  
it and Population and Population

Jeff York  4:15  
well, so we do stuff read. So we take things that normally people think about population, and we'll talk about his organizational ecology. Oh, interesting. That's kind of fun. I actually that's where a lot of that craft beer research comes from. Yeah, it's cool. They do. You think about a organizational ecosystem like craft brewers, and then you look at entry and exit and how it affects them overall, and how they specialize? It's pretty, I think, is it's kind of a dead literature though. I don't offend anyone. That's right. And I've written in it, but I think it's really interesting, really soft. It doesn't sound like it's just not hip anymore

Ethan Poskanzer  4:47  
is old. But there is a paper that's pretty recent by a guy named Justin Frake I think is awesome. That has a really interesting finding. It's on a beer website that you would probably know about and it's people when they find out a craft Beer is like owned by Anheuser Busch. Oh, yeah, they just rate it less even though. Yeah. So the idea is that people are like, always looking at like for signals of like, is this real? Is this authentic and changes their evaluation?

Jeff York  5:13  
And so it's the whole authenticity and entrepreneurship argument which you've actually talked about fair bit from your experience. I have actually like, yeah, being true to your brand. And

Brad  5:22  
authenticity is important. And if we talk about if we imagine that you're a startup brewery, and over time you get acquired by Anheuser Busch, right. And if it's exactly the same beer, where does that authenticity start to fade? Right in the minds of your customers? I think that's

Jeff York  5:38  
I think it happens to me.

Ethan Poskanzer  5:39  
What happened to Sam Adams was,

Jeff York  5:40  
why did we not sample Sam Adams on our pumpkin beer episode?

Brad  5:45  
Didn't we say? Well, Sam? Yes, we

Jeff York  5:47  
did. The Boston versus boulder brew Austin did not know Boston did not do. I mean, Sam Adams was always a contract brewery actually, that was, oh, gosh, I'm forgetting the name of the founder. That's bad. But anyway, Sam Adams, right. Yeah. Yeah, right. Right. During that, during the revolution, Santa was like, Well, you know, I'm trying to create this new country with these guys. And we're already executed if we get caught. We're at war. But you know, really, what I think we ought to do is prove some beer. So anyway, so Ethan, tell us what are we going to talk about that?

Ethan Poskanzer  6:22  
So we're going to talk about a paper that very proudly came out recently with two co authors, Alex Reinhart at the University of Connecticut and Forrest Brisco at Penn State University. And we studied how political protests impacted the careers of National Football League players. And specifically, we looked at the take a knee movement in the 2016 NFL season and how the decision to take part in that protest impacted players careers, that protest is most commonly known as the one led by Colin Kaepernick. That's

Brad  6:57  
actually the name I just wrote down when you were talking about that. Yeah, really interesting. No,

Jeff York  7:01  
I remember distinctly This is my dad said, I'm not watching the NFL no more. I was like, okay, that's fine. I mean, he didn't really like it to begin with. So it was an easy sacrifice for him. So forest, actually, we're trying to get him out here. We should have gotten him out here for this

Ethan Poskanzer  7:16  
forest, as you know, a great skier. I think it'd be good to have him out in the winter. Yeah,

Jeff York  7:20  
no, I mean, he's like, the social movements, guys. Sort of, I'm gonna embarrass him. I can't embarrass him, cuz he's not here. But But I mean, that's fair to say. Right? He's, yeah, totally one of the leading scholars on understanding how social movements impact business and have an impact on the broader business ecosystem.

Ethan Poskanzer  7:38  
Yeah, that'd be awesome. All right.

Jeff York  7:39  
So what's the title of paper?

Ethan Poskanzer  7:40  
The title of the paper is, I think the career consequences of workplace protest evidence from the NFL take a knee movement.

Jeff York  7:50  
What do you think Brad?

Ethan Poskanzer  7:51  
No pun in the title? There's

Jeff York  7:53  
no cola.

Ethan Poskanzer  7:53  
There's a colon? Oh, okay. You got evidence.

Brad  7:57  
So I'm actually going to kind of ignore the title. But I actually liked the subject matter. I think the subject matter is very relevant. And I'm just going to pass on the title for today. Wow.

Ethan Poskanzer  8:06  
That's a win. Right? That's the best.

Jeff York  8:10  

Brad  8:11  
but I actually liked the subject matter. I think it's relevant, very relevant, what's going on in today's world with kind of the two political sides and values and companies and values and customers? And how do employees fit in and express their values? I think it's I think it's very interesting. Cool.

Ethan Poskanzer  8:27  
Thank you. We appreciate definitely that was part of what attracted us to this project was not only the theoretical significance of workplace protests, which is something that we see more, but also just how big of a story in America, these protests were, you know, I was having a conversation with his paper today. And I even I couldn't believe that that was seven years ago. It feels like it was, yeah, because it's like, such a prominent thing. It feels like it wasn't, it was testing. And you're

Jeff York  8:56  
a young guy, then like for Brad and I like a year goes by in a second these days. But for you, it still seems like that. I guess it was

Brad  9:05  
happened last week. And there were there were a few groups from Harvard, that criticized Israel, because during the Israel Palestinian conflict, right, and folks that had hired some of the people in these organizations rescinded their job offers, and I'm thinking about the linkage between what your research is and kind of what's actually going on today.

Jeff York  9:24  
I mean, there's, there's a trade off, right? There's the trade off you face when you're not authentic to yourself and who you want to be in your job role. But there's a trade off to be faced or being authentic in your job role as well,

Brad  9:35  
but then also being anonymous and then being called out. So there's lots of things that are going on here.

Ethan Poskanzer  9:39  
Yeah. And that's something to that trap that Jeff said, we think is very interesting. And something we always want to get in front of with this work. Is that like, the decision to protest for something is not something that we think research can tell you to do or not to do. It's like, you know, a deeply personal decision that we often make But we do think it is worth documenting that these decisions play a pretty large role in how the labor market works in the United States.

Brad  10:10  
And Kaepernick was not anonymous, right? He made

Jeff York  10:15  
it hard to be anonymous as an NFL player, I mean of your name, and you're asleep. Do

Brad  10:19  
you think and I don't know, Ethan, did you even if you interviewed him, but I'm just wondering, if he predicted kind of blowback that he would get by doing something that was authentic to him,

Ethan Poskanzer  10:29  
I would love to speak to him. I have not interviewed him. But we would totally like to talk to people who are involved in this. There are only 50 purchasing players in the sample. So there's not a lot of people out there to get in touch with. But totally, we would love to hear what this experience was like, for them. Because I don't know what they could have anticipated. But I think definitely, I mean, look to Colin Kaepernick was, you know, without a doubt, one of the there probably 90 quarterbacks employed in the NFL. And in 2017 18, when he was in the league anyway, he was definitely one of the 90 best quarterbacks in the world. You know, anybody who watched that Packers game knows that. But part of I think what we learned from this is that it's not just you know, he was the face of this, that this also affected the full 50 players. So even the players that, you know, most of them are not everyone knows Colin protested live, he went might know Eric Reid, who was also you know, Robin, but the other 48 are not as known for this. But we see that it affected the population of players who protest that not just the people who became like the public faces of the movement.

Jeff York  11:40  
So you guys became interested in this? And then what did you do to actually do research on that? Because I mean, it's an interesting topic, but it's not clear at all, like how exactly you start, you find that, okay, that's interesting, but what did you do?

Ethan Poskanzer  11:54  
So a lot of time on this website called pro football reference, Spot track was another one. So we became interesting this because I'm, I'm a football fan, I'm a devoted Buffalo Bills fan.

Jeff York  12:06  
Let's take a sidetrack there and talk about Colorado.

Ethan Poskanzer  12:09  
Yeah, this is, you know, where the man like because

Jeff York  12:12  
like, we're recording this, right after the last Stanford, which was brutal. Oh, my God, I

Ethan Poskanzer  12:21  
was never seen anything like,

Jeff York  12:22  
I never I was I was I was, I was lucky enough to there was an extra ticket for the lead suite that night. And I got invited to go and hang out. And I was there. And all of our alumni are there, all the everyone's there, things are going fantastic. First half are like, Oh, we're finally going to get the blowout win, like 30 to nothing. 2029 Nothing. And people start leaving the beginning of the third quarter. I'm like, Well, I don't get to do this very much. I'll hang out. This is fine. So

Brad  12:52  
there was free food involved as well. Yeah, I was just eating all

Jeff York  12:55  
the all the chiquitos I could get like, there was tamales. And so I couldn't leave. But anyway, so I'm there. And things just went to hell. And everybody left like seriously, like everybody had left and third course. They might have scored low, but we'll shut down the fourth quarter because this year Colorado has been really great. The fourth quarter. It was the most depressing football stuff. It made the Oregon game less, less depressing. As

Ethan Poskanzer  13:23  
it feels fan. I've had that experience. I've been

Jeff York  13:30  
a Broncos fan. And then I would be lucky. At least now though, but it's interesting because like, you know, Coach Brown, clearly he has brought like so much energy and so many positive things to the university. But their actual execution is so variable.

Ethan Poskanzer  13:44  
Yeah, me just very, maybe when the year before coach Brian was here. Oh, 101.

Jeff York  13:50  
I am planning on this. Like, it's just fascinating.

Brad  13:52  
So the other thing about prime which I really like, Oh, is that huge, man. Yeah, me too. And I he's changing the culture here, though. And we are not the most diverse university. No, and I think Prime is really helping with that. And I do hope so. And certainly rooting for him in that

Jeff York  14:08  
for him in every possible respect. Yeah. That's why it hurts. So

Ethan Poskanzer  14:11  
it's bringing a lot of excitement. You know, there was a lot of excitement around the sports teams last year.

Jeff York  14:16  
I'm sorry for the sidebar. We just mentioned Colorado football here we are

Brad  14:20  
using entrepreneurial techniques to build the team. Really, really fabulous.

Jeff York  14:24  
Well, that's actually I mean yeah, he really is being entrepreneur. He's like saying, Well look, you know, performance matters, and we're just gonna go with the best the best performance and that's what we're

Brad  14:32  
gonna try and he's the first person really manipulating the portal and he's he's using every tool plus his fabulous personality. I mean, I love having the guy here. chasetown

Jeff York  14:43  
I think you guys do is nothing but positive. I think it's just awesome that the University of Colorado Boulder is actually now in the conversation ever see,

Brad  14:53  
Colorado might be the best place to watch football game. It is the most beautiful stadium in the background. It means it blows your mind Yeah,

Jeff York  15:00  
I mean, it's like, I even had a good time at that game. Anyway, sorry for the sidebar. So you're a football fan, sadly for the bills. But anyway, you're a fan, and you're interested in this. And so then what happened? Like, how did this come about?

Ethan Poskanzer  15:16  
I wanted to know, basically, the question I was talking about a few minutes ago, as I felt it felt pretty clear that Colin Kaepernick had his career had been affected by these protests. But well, we wanted to know, when we sat started out was, you know, did this affect everybody? Or is this something where one person is, takes the career consequences, and the other people that kind of it's not as remembered for us and Alex had already been working on a different project on protesting NFL, it's also very interesting. So we all got together, we started doing this. pro football is a good context. pro sports are good context for social science research, because there's a ton of data out there that you can't always get. So at the NFL, we could get how much everybody was paid every year in close detail. It's public. Performance is pretty measurable, you know, relative to things who protested is measurable, you know, it's on television. So if you get that where it's usually more bespoke, in other organizations. And then as we started talking about it, we realized that kind of what Brad was talking about that this relates to a lot of other things. So there are protests at work for environmentalism, or for foreign involvement and wars for a lot of contentious public issues. There's a lot of people using company platforms and social media to take stances on political issues. So we want to understand was this is happening more? What's happening to these people, you know, are the diseases affecting their careers or not? So then we got we got running some some regressions, would you find out? So what we found out was that yes, protesting does did in the NFL, affect people's career. So we found that people who protested were more likely to exit their teams, they're more likely to have to leave their jobs and be on a new team, then players with similar performance, who did not protest. So we control for a lot of areas, that means we hold things constant. So we hold performance constant, playing position, how many years of salary players had committed to, and we see that the players who protested left their teams sooner and the players who didn't protest, but it's not a monolithic events, we see that there is an eye of the beholder element to this. So we categorize teams based on how likely people were in that workplace on that team to support this protest. So how we measure whether a team was likely to be supportive environment of this particular protest, which was about police brutality, and racing, United States with teams that had more black coaches, some more black managers, black general managers, which is the general manager is the personnel decision maker, more politically liberal fan bases and more owners who donated more to Democratic politicians versus Republican politicians so that we've categorized those as teams that were likely to be people in the environment who supported this protest. And there were teams that were the reverse where people weren't likely to be support at this point. So let fewer black coaches not have black General Manager, politically conservative fan bases and owners that don't matter Republicans. So there wasn't much of an effect of protests on career outcomes, if you protested on a team that was likely to be supportive of this protest. But if you protested on a team, that wasn't likely to supportive of this protest, there was a really big effect on your career. And for players that protested on teams that weren't likely to be supported with protests. There was also a big effect on on lifetime earnings in the NFL, which is a large, there's a lot of earnings in the NFL. So we see the takeaway of this is that how the protests was viewed, went through the lens of do people support the underlying protest movement or not? Right,

Jeff York  18:50  
so So like the were you looking at social norms? Is that how you did that? For

Ethan Poskanzer  18:53  
the fans, we did Twitter data. So it was how often people who were identified as fans based on their Twitter activity also tweeted about Democratic or Republican political cost measure that was actually came from something called the Norman Lear Center, that was something somebody had already collected that we are able to use for this

Jeff York  19:13  
stuff with social norms where people know social norms, like what people think other people expect of them in a region. So you could say like, for example, in Boulder, it's important to care for the environment. It's not but I believe it's what I believe other people believe about me, but this was a reflection directly of people's beliefs. Yeah, and it doesn't tell us as far as what they tweeted about Yeah,

Ethan Poskanzer  19:36  
we thought it was a little better than just going like by like the vote in that city.

Jeff York  19:40  
Right right. democratic representation versus Republican all that stuff.

Ethan Poskanzer  19:44  
Yeah, cuz the football fans in the city are not always representative of like the city as a whole. And then also we can pick up fans. Some teams have national fan base like the Dallas Cowboys have a national fan base, so yeah, pick up all their supporters. I'm just

Brad  19:57  
thinking about player that could end Should you manipulate that to improve their contracts? Hmm, say more.

Ethan Poskanzer  20:03  
So we didn't see an opportunity for that, because basically, the best outcome we saw for players was no change. Okay, no change from non promising players. What we did see, though, is there is an opportunity in the labor market for organizations to act strategically where the players who protested and left their teams were more likely to move to the teams that were supportive of this protests. Ah, so it looks like there were teams that were, you know, interested in taking in this talent that had left their team for for non performance reasons. Gotcha. And then if for some teams that were supportive of this movement, could could take those players in and have better teams, but

Brad  20:40  
Kaepernick then is an outlier, that he had a tough time finding a job.

Ethan Poskanzer  20:44  
Kaepernick is an ally, there is an interest, sorry, there is a relationship between exiting the NFL entirely and protest. So Kaepernick is not alone. And there being a relationship between having protested and exiting the NFL sooner than you would have otherwise. But we saw a lot of players who, who moved to other teams, and they saw there was a labor market sorting pattern where they started to teams that based on those indicators were more likely to be open to this particular protest movements.

Brad  21:14  
And then did you look into revenue sharing amongst the entire NFL, though? And how? So I'm just wondering if like if it I don't know what the ratio is, when you would break down teams, whether more conservative or liberal or more accepting or not accepting a protest? And what percentage of the NFL? How did that breaks down? And then how does it affect revenue for the entire NFL? And who makes some of those decisions? Right? Are there people that get into a room like this, I'll get a couple of Dungeons and Dragons goblets and say, Hey, these players are great, but that's what actually hurts our league.

Jeff York  21:50  
That's probably how the NFL is run algebra. They get together, they play Dungeons and Dragons, they drink fluffy pumpkin, and they discuss this over their game. You know, the way I will say fluffy pumpkin does not improve the more you drink of it. I liked it a lot. I think I'm changing my mind a little. Okay.

Ethan Poskanzer  22:05  
So to what Brian was saying, We can't say for sure what the decision making process was. We don't unfortunately don't have the insight into those decisions. Nor were they necessarily we don't know if they were explicit about considering these things. But we saw that teams that were more likely to be supportive of this protest were more likely to make the choice to hire these players. So that's

Brad  22:26  
not that surprising. That was it. I mean, to me, it's not that surprising. What surprised you about the research? Did you? Is there a takeaway that you're like, Oh, my God, I had no idea.

Ethan Poskanzer  22:35  
I would say how large the effect was on earnings. It was an order of millions of dollars that players didn't earn as a result of this. But I actually would say, you know, when we think about when you ask somebody, what should determine your success in the labor market? They would probably say, are you good at your job? Are you hard working? They probably wouldn't say your political views. Right. So that actually was pretty striking to me to see how in the eye of the beholder, the effect was B. So the fact that we see that it was predominantly in teams that were not likely to agree with this protest movement, means it's probably not some like general protest effect, where if, you know, people just say like, oh, you protests that you shouldn't do that at work? It's not necessarily that it's that they were in environments where people didn't agree with their what they were actually protesting for, which I mean, even though it's not like a stretch to imagine that affecting people in labor market, it is like kind of jarring to see it come out. And one

Brad  23:34  
more thing, it also could have a muting effect on how people react, that if there is no upside, and depending on where you're playing, there could be a dramatic downside, that financial incentive not to say anything, could really be overpowering.

Ethan Poskanzer  23:50  
Yeah, totally. And that, you know, is a really complicated thought that, based on the research, I don't have, you know, I would love to look into the reverse of this, like how these career incentives affect what issues people do and don't speak out on but I do think it's like, a powerful force, you know, that we can imagine shaping like, what, what issues people speak up about and when and where, yeah, that's

Brad  24:15  
really cool, actually.

Jeff York  24:16  
So if we think about this for like, entrepreneurs, and we generalize out a little bit, does this theoretically, I mean, kit, well, maybe I guess it could empirically generalize to individual entrepreneurs. Maybe it'd be really interesting, because a lot of times if you think about like hybrid organizing or things where people are trying to wear their heart on their sleeve a bit and say, Look, you know, yeah, we're doing this for profit firm, but we also are trying to affect the social movement, or we're trying to do this thing. Is there something that this research tells us about the tipping point maybe or like choosing your punch? You tell me it's your research.

Ethan Poskanzer  24:54  
Something that's local to this is it's a really polarizing issue. Yeah. So I think that's like an important boundary country. So this is that we looked into the Twitter data, you could find people who you know what you said your dad was hooked. I've never watched the NFL again. But I also found people who were like, This is awesome. I'm gonna start watching football now really an issue that like, everybody had really strong feelings on. Yeah. But you know, this is it's a career long effect. So I think that's a takeaway for entrepreneurs that taking a stance on issues, which again, I don't want to tell people to do or not do you have to like that it's not a risk free decision.

Jeff York  25:35  
Actual insight. So thinking about taking a stand as an entrepreneur, joining into a social movement, deciding to go with your beliefs, understanding that that's not just maybe a short term hit, but it could be much more long term. And gosh, Ethan, it's hard to say this should not feel like I'm trying to discourage people from doing it, which exact opposite of how I actually feel. But you've got evidence, and I'm just speculating here, there's a drink this fluffy pumpkin beer. So the other

Ethan Poskanzer  26:05  
thing is, there are two other thoughts about this, that I think are implications. One is that like, there's also I think, a reasonable stance here where like, the world shouldn't be that way. Knowing that it is if we wish to watch on it, you know, like, you know, I think we all like to believe ourselves as like believers in free speech, and that people should be able to take stances, but we see that there are consequences to that, I think that's something we can, you know, internalize. You know, we see things how much you want to commit to that norm. The other thoughts, I lost, I was going for a second, let

Brad  26:36  
me go on a different avenue, even for one second. So, so what I'm thinking a little bit differently, and I'm thinking about Bud Lights, when they created the can for the trans person, I think at Florida, that went really great. And people, the general public, or at least people that wanted to think this thought that but like that became a big supporter of trans, were actually it was just something that they do in their marketing department for different influencers. How does that resonate with kind of your research?

Ethan Poskanzer  27:05  
That's a little bit different, because it's a corporation, taking a stand where we have studied individuals taking a stand. But yeah, I think again, that's like the type of thing where it is, you know, a lot of what we do is social science is to uncover how the world is. And it's not always how we think the world should be. But one of the thing is, understanding how the world is is that these political, when you want to understand the market, that political forces actually do play a pretty big role in that, I think we saw that with Bud Light, which was, I mean, Bud Light was like, that was like a pretty astonishing thing that happened. But one of the implications is the thing to be concerned about is, there's an echo chamber effect that could come from this, where when you talk about entrepreneurs before, if entrepreneurs feel like they want to market to a certain political base that has certain political views are good, there is an incentive for them to support those political views. And I think that this, the polarization element to this, I think, is important. And we can see how that plays in the NFL is a unique setting for the NFL is a super broad tent has everybody watches the NFL Super Bowl is like, almost holiday. But I think I'd always be concerned about businesses taking this advice to strategically and leaning into the political orientation of things. Well,

Jeff York  28:30  
you're the first person has done like the I mean, that's an actual insight. But it's I can't remember anyone ever coming on the podcast, Brad and saying like, I don't think you should probably take advice from this paper.

Ethan Poskanzer  28:43  
Yeah, well,

Jeff York  28:45  
that's right. I mean, like, we have these very small samples, these very small slices. And we try to say like, this could be helpful to a human being, but then I often, like, even want to take my own research in the classroom. I'm like, you know, this is what I found this time. implies this could be helpful to you, but I don't think you should take it to the bank. Right?

Ethan Poskanzer  29:07  
Yeah. And this paper is a little different. In those two words, not necessarily a documentation of a good strategy. It's a documentation of what happened. unfortunate thing that happened, you know, in the United States,

Brad  29:16  
creates awareness. And I think that that's important. Yeah, no, I

Jeff York  29:20  
think it's important for people to understand like, I think what you said earlier is really critical. Like, if you're gonna take a political stance on a highly polarizing issue, understand that the hit to you individually or to your business, may not be short term, right? You know, I'm not trying to be make light of the whole Bud Light situation, all that stuff. I mean, and as your Bush will survive, they'll still sell a bunch of crappy beer. That's

Ethan Poskanzer  29:47  
another element of this too, is that the NFL so a lot of these players out of the 50 were unless you're really big NFL fans. Yeah. You probably haven't heard of the average career of an NFL players I think about three seasons. So, three or four years without we looked it up the average salary in the NFL, it's always close to $80, the average salary, post NFL employment is about $85,000. So without doing the calculations, a lot of these people's lifetimes earnings could have been earned by a fourth or fifth year in the NFL. And that was that was

Jeff York  30:18  
given another plug to coach prime real quick. That's the thing I love about Coach primacy focuses on these players academic performance to a large extent, it's like you guys, and they're really a it's really honest with them, it's like, most you are not going to make the NFL have been there done that it ain't gonna happen. So you need to have a backup plan. I love that instead of like this sort of, I feel like I love football. I like watching football, but I almost feel guilty about liking it, because I know how catastrophic ly devastating can be on these players health. And if they don't have someone who's a role model and telling them like, hey, you need a backup plan. And I'm a big Peyton Manning guy because I went to Tennessee when he was there. And I mean, you know, I just think he's like, the optimal example of someone you know, yeah, he can't play anymore. But he's doing just fine and doing a whole bunch of Oh, yeah. So yeah,

Ethan Poskanzer  31:12  
there's another layer beyond that to where making the NFL is not always a ticket to lifetime riches for Peyton Manning, it was for most players, you know, the average corporate lawyer, investment banker will earn more over their lives. Sure, they will. So these are not like multimillionaires, becoming slightly less multimillionaires is like a real difference.

Jeff York  31:33  
I think that's a social lens to that's the eye of the beholder thing you were talking about. It's like, um, I think people view professional sports players as like the all time great. They're all millionaires. Like that's I've heard a bunch of millionaires running around the field. Well, I don't think the vast majority of them come from particularly privileged background, and their earnings potential is high in those few years are able to perform at that level. But over a lifetime, over a lifetime. No, not compared to like, you know, a lot of the

Brad  32:06  
the students we teach. So first of all, I'm a big coach, prime fan myself. So Coach prime anytime you want to come on. Love coach,

Jeff York  32:14  
we don't have to drink alcohol. Totally fine. Not drinking

Brad  32:17  
coffee segments. love to have you and we'd love what you're doing with our

Jeff York  32:21  
students. And I'm fishing out of grits.

Brad  32:24  
But I would say that with the NFL, I do think there's a misconception that people hear about these big contracts a few of them sign and assume that everybody's making huge money. And that's actually not the case.

Jeff York  32:34  
Right? Yeah, totally. So and they end up with physical devastation, and they don't have back. So I mean, I think this is really so if we think about generalizing this like to employees in an organization, cash, it's I don't know if that's, I don't want to say it's tougher, but like, so often now, when we're teaching students, they really want to, they want to follow their beliefs, they want to do the right thing, and how he's encouraged them to, but perhaps we should be talking a little bit more to them about well, you should do that. encouraging you, but understand the consequence.

Ethan Poskanzer  33:07  
Yeah, that's what we do view this as as like looking at the whole picture, right? You know, whether we want to be that way or not, because I do believe this generalizes to say, if you took a political stance in your workplace, that some people would probably hold that against you. And whether they did or didn't, would probably depend on if they believed in what you were protesting for, or not. So I think this is a general thing. So there are some examples we saw. There were some protests at Google Wayfarer, as an example, during the paper about like employee walkouts, using the Slack channel. Take a political stance. This is I think, a thing that touches more quote, unquote, every day jobs than just professional football.

Brad  33:47  
Yeah. And I'm also thinking about unionization when I was thinking, right, some of these very, very large chains. Yeah, that's, it's interesting. Yeah, we

Ethan Poskanzer  33:56  
think this is even like a level past unionization, where unionization is at least like about work, so you can see it this is about something that is like ostensibly, not related to a football game. So this is this is career consequences, something where you're not necessarily directly bargaining with your managers for something. Yeah,

Brad  34:15  
that's really cool. What he did took guts. Totally, yeah, yes. amazing in itself. All

Jeff York  34:21  
right. So anything else we should take away from this paper? Ethan?

Ethan Poskanzer  34:25  
I think that that sums it up. It's pretty cool.

Jeff York  34:30  
What do you think Brad? Like? I mean, how would you apply this to entrepreneurial insights?

Brad  34:35  
I actually think that I look at it a little bit differently. And I tell my students this all the time that you have seven minutes or seven seconds, pardon me to make a first impression and it takes 72 hours to change that first and seconds. And right so the amount of time that you walk into a 711 and pika Yeti beer from

Jeff York  34:56  
make a positive impression on everyone. And

Brad  34:58  
then and then it takes Days and days to change that. And I think that you're actually it's that's still represents exactly that that you need to think before you talk. Right. And I'm all about following your values and your beliefs. And I believe that people need to be authentic. But there can be consequences. Yeah, I still, I would still encourage people to stay authentic. Yeah,

Jeff York  35:22  
I would do but understand the consequences. That's right. I think that's, to me, that's the actual insight. And I will even do a mummy noise or anything like that. I think it's if you're an entrepreneur, you're not an entrepreneur, you're working in some setting. I mean, certainly has happened with the university professors, as you were just talking about with the at Harvard with the stance on people saying things about supporting Israel not supporting Israel, I mean, those people bear real consequences from those political views. And if it's so important to you that you feel like you've got to do it, I, personally, I feel like you should do it. But you do need to understand there's going to be consequences one way or the other. And then there can be positive consequences take a political stand to, but these are often unpredictable, yet, we don't know which way it's gonna go. I do

Ethan Poskanzer  36:03  
actually want to say one, one thing that's not necessarily a takeaway for an individual, but like at the larger level is that this fits with some other research I'm doing, where we look at political polarization, understanding and diagnosing that. And I think there's a way of doing that, where it's like, well, people aren't committed to norms, like free speech, right? Or people are committed to these other norms in what we see is that the diagnosis is a little different. It's that people selectively apply those norms in some cases or another. Sure, which affects the prescription for those things, that it's not the absence of certain norms, but that these things are applied in some cases and not others. Right. Very cool. So

Brad  36:40  
for me, a takeaway is Ethan is the first person on this podcast that has ever indirectly pled the case that tenure is a good thing for business professors. Because you're, you are researching things that people could upset people. And so that type of thought needs protection. So that the thought continues. Jeff?

Jeff York  37:08  
Actually, I'll speak to that just a little bit. I. If I ever told you about how many times I've had to avoid getting money from the Koch brothers? I'm not actually I don't know. So three different occasions, I've had to avoid getting some kind of funding from the Koch brothers, because through various front group organizations, they've written to me and said, Oh, you write about entrepreneurship and free markets in the environment. Surely you would love to receive $20,000 a year to comment on these papers that we're supporting. And it's like some organization called, we love freedom. I'm like, yeah, like freedom. And I look at it, I'm like, Oh, this is this is the Koch brothers. That's like money to like, yes. But they have they have engaged in a systematic and very successful campaign to install academics. They're sponsored by them to front their political ideology. And that's frightening to me. Like I don't I also don't want to get money from Greenpeace, right? Like, I want to actually like write about the things I'm writing about in a way that front and center does protect you to do so.

Brad  38:11  
So my my thinking of tenure, though, is professors and the Supreme Court have tenure. If you are if you are graced with the gift of tenure, marry us be bold. Yeah, no, I love that. Ethan is an example of that.

Jeff York  38:25  
Yeah, it's being bold before.

Brad  38:29  
Every every time we talk about something, right, which is really, really cool. And I love you for walking the edge like that.

Jeff York  38:37  
I I concur. Like getting people to be bold. I mean, I think what you're saying is well taken. My friend Amy Hoffman at Michigan, he says, We got too many tenured professors acting like untenured professor. In other words, they're like, just continuing do the same thing. Over and over. And I think that is the gift. I'm trying man I gotta do I gotta do this Associate Dean thing. You know, the ask Dean. You know, that's time consuming. Obvious. All right. This was great. All right. So the paper is the career consequences of workplace protest participation, theory and evidence from the NFL. Take a knee movement, as by Alexandra Reinhardt, Ethan paws cancer and Forrest Brisco. It's impressed now an organization science will do a low link in the podcast. Thanks for joining us, Ethan. Thanks. Are you having any second thoughts about any of the pumpkin beers you tasted?

Ethan Poskanzer  39:28  
I might go back for the pump action.

Jeff York  39:30  
Whoa, okay, high praise. I am having a few second thoughts that I'm not so I'm not the enthusiast. I was in our last episode about fluffy pumpkin. I still think it's an achievement. Brad's totally given up on

Brad  39:42  
now Odell brewing Oktoberfest Adele's. Let's just go with that. By

Jeff York  39:47  
will new bread ate some candies, there's still hope. Maybe we can change his heart. His heart will grow three sizes one, and he'll embrace Halloween costumes there'll be in the Deming costume contest. Thanks for joining us this crib distillation if you liked the podcast or even if you don't like the podcast, go ahead and hit that subscribe button hit that five stars, it really would help us out and write to us at CD We would love to hear from you. We'd love to have you on the podcast, you have a piece of research you'd like to share, and you can make it to Boulder, Colorado, maybe just maybe we'll have a contest. At some point, we'll bring you out here to hang out with us and take you to a great brewery or distillery. But if you get here on your own, we're almost always happy to have you on. Thanks for joining us, Brad. It's great to see Jeff

Brad  40:30  
great seeing you. I'm Brad Warner from the Deming center and wishing you all the day.

Jeff York  40:34  
Happy Halloween.

Stefani H  40:37  
We hope you enjoyed this episode of creative distillation. Recorded on location in Jeff's gaming dungeon in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Read Ethan's paper "The Career Consequences of Workplace Protest Participation: Theory and Evidence from the NFL 'Take a Knee' Movement" co-written with Alexandra Reinhart and Forrest Brisco in Organization Science, check the show notes for a link. Learn more about Ethan Poskanzer on his faculty page at the Leeds School of Business. We'd love to hear your feedback and ideas email us at And please be sure to subscribe to Creative distillation wherever you get your podcasts. The Creative Distillation podcast is made possible by the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business. For more information, please visit That's D-E-M-ING and click the Creative Distillation link. Creative Distillation is produced by Joel Davis at Analog Digital Arts. Our theme music is "Whiskey Before Breakfast" performed by your humble host, Brad and Jeff. Thanks for listening. We'll see you back here for another episode of Creative Distillation.