'Drink water, not soda': Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo takes a rebellious stance to promote health

There has always been a bit of a disconnect between the highly competitive and health-conscious world of sports and the brands that often sponsor events. The typical American sporting event will have sponsorships from fast-food chains, beer companies, and soft drinks.

In some cases, the brands will position themselves as being complementary to a healthy lifestyle. Like when Michael Jordan was a spokesperson for McDonald's or when LeBron James endorsed Coca-Cola.

While athletes and brands are free to make whatever business deals they like, the problem is that these partnerships use superstars who are the paragon of health to promote unhealthy lifestyles.


Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the biggest athletes on the planet, stood up to the pressure to promote unhealthy products on Monday when he scoffed at two bottles of Coca-Cola that were placed in front of him at a press conference ahead of Portugal's Euro 2020 opener with Hungary.

The Juventus star moved the two bottles of soda out of camera view and picked up a bottle of water saying, "Drink water, not Coca-Cola." Having one of the biggest stars of the championship denigrate a sponsor must have infuriated UEFA officials.

The decision immediately affected Coca-Cola.

The soda manufacturer's stock shares experienced a 1.6% drop in price after Ronaldo's comments, costing the company $4 billion. However, the stock price was back up at the end of the day.

Coca-Cola responded to the initial comments by saying "everyone is entitled to their drink preferences" and that everyone has different "tastes and needs."

It is a little anachronistic to see bottles of Coca-Cola placed in front of the world's greatest athletes. Drinks like Coca-Cola have an incredible amount of high-fructose corn syrup and are linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

In one study on children, each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages was linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity.

Ronaldo once endorsed Coca-Cola back in the day but now is an advocate for healthy living, evidenced by the fact he's still at the top of his game at the age of 36. He's known for having an intense health regimen and an incredibly toned physique.

Ronaldo is known for eating six small meals a day to keep his metabolism going while avoiding hunger or feeling sluggish. He trains five days a week for three to four hours a day.

He's spoken publicly about how he gets frustrated when his son has a sugary drink.

"I'm hard with him sometimes because he drinks Coca-Cola and Fanta sometimes and I'm pissed with him," Ronaldo said according to The Mirror.

Ronaldo's refusal to promote Coca-Cola struck a chord with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, 43-year-old Tom Brady, an athlete who's also known for prolonging his career through an intense health regimen.

Caroline Cerny, Alliance Lead at Obesity Health Alliance, perfectly summed up Ronaldo's bold move. "It's great to see a role model like Cristiano Ronaldo reject Coca-Cola for water, setting a positive example for young fans and showing his disdain for a cynical marketing attempt to link him with a sugary drink," she said.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

Keep Reading Show less