In a surprise move by GNU Snowboards and Thirty Two, the brands have dropped longtime team rider Nicolas Müller. One of the most stylish and progressive riders in the history of snowboarding, with recent political and social commentary the brands seem to have deemed Müller a liability, and separately announced they will no longer be affiliated with the rider.
From Thirty Two:
While snowboard brands have not historically been deeply involved in political and social issues, the times have changed and everyday citizens have come to realize the importance of the brands that guide our everyday lifestyle needing to be a part of the action for change in a world that is very clearly not fair for all individuals.
While the brands haven’t come out and stated directly the reason, dropping Müller is likely due to his outspoken opinion on the subject of COVID-19, systemic racism, and the news media. As of a few days ago Müller’s Instagram biography had a link leading to a conspiracy video about the death of George Floyd. Müller has also been outspoken and challenged those sharing their support for the Black Lives Matters movement, including his own teammate at Thirty Two, Desiree Melancon.
Although his political opinions have nothing to do with this snowboarding, it’s encouraging to see his sponsors withdraw their support from a person who they have undoubtedly helped give a platform too. This is a sign that brands will not put up with their athletes spreading misinformation, and that we’re headed in the right direction. —ML