​9-Year-Old Shirt Nike: Coach Asked To Remove Under Armour

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August 7, 2021

A 9-year-old’s shirt has Nike upset after he wore one by Under Armour on the field following a Florida State University game.

According to The Inquisitr, The 9-year-old upset Nike and the Under Under Armour shirt caused quite a stir since the athletic company has a $4.2 million contract with Florida State University. It happened last November after his team had trounced rival Miami. That’s when coach Jimbo Fisher got a pleasant surprise. His son Ethan ran up to his dad on the field and leapt into his arms.

That particular embrace, captured by ABC cameras, struck most viewers as a heartwarming moment-especially given Ethan’s widely reported struggle with Fanconi anemia, a rare and serious genetic disease. But a different reaction emerged from one camp: Nike Inc. They contacted the school immediately.

Hours before the game, Mark Dupes, who as Nike’s assistant director for football sports marketing helps oversee the company’s $4.2 million licensing and apparel deal with the school, sang a different tune by congratulating Florida State administrators on the win. He wrote:

“Hey guys great win and game! Appreciate everything you all do for us! Keep it rolling.”

Then Nike turned to another matter, the Under Armour sweatshirt Ethan wore during that on-field embrace, obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

“Hey got a text from the USA Director of Sports Marketing last night telling me of how good things look w FSU and our players and sideline staff, exposure for the Brand was exceptional. Then 5 min later I rec a new message…Said ABC cameras were on Jimbo and his Son at end of the game…His son was Wearing Under Armour FSU sweatshirt! Ouch. Can we please ask Jimbo to eliminate that from the son’s wardrobe in the future! Let me know if I can help w anything. Thx guys. MD”

Asked about the email regarding the 9-year-old wearing the shirt with Under Under Armour on it, Monk Bonasorte, FSU senior associate athletics director, said he remembered receiving it but hadn’t acted on it. Bonasorte said:

“What am I going to do, go to coach and say, ‘Hey can you take that shirt off him?’ … I’m not going to call Jimbo Fisher and tell him what his son can wear.”

Florida State is downplaying the request, but the message apparently was received. Ethan has since been seen wearing Nike gear, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bonasorte said he didn’t think the Nike email should be taken too seriously.

In a statement, Nike said its “relationship is with the Florida State Department of Athletics and does not extend to their family members.” Jimbo Fisher declined to comment. Dupes did not return calls seeking comment.

Photos from subsequent games, including Florida State’s national championship win over Auburn, show the 9-year-old wearing the Nike-brand shirt.

The November email about Ethan Fisher’s Nike sweatshirt is one of several hundred athletic department emails from last fall the Journal acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. Dozens of the emails, which cover a two-week period, concern its relationship with Nike, which will pay the school $1.4 million in cash and $2.8 million in apparel this year. In the 2012/2013 school year, FSU had revenue from its athletic teams of $89.1 million, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In an email on November 12, FSU trademark licensing director Sherri Dye asked Bonasorte what to do about requests from two Nike rivals — Under Armour and Adidas — to produce Florida State T-shirts bearing the No. 5 worn by Florida State’s star quarterback, Jameis Winston.

The apparel companies are also famously vigilant about how their logos and marks appear on television, where a few seconds of exposure can be invaluable. Total retail sales of collegiate licensed products were estimated at $4.6 billion for 2013, according to estimates from License! Global Magazine.

Last year, for instance, Nike asked several top college football programs, including Alabama, to return the apparel it had sent because it did not believe the logos were prominent enough on television. The clothing was then sent back to the teams with an extra logo.

A 9-year-old wearing a shirt with the Nike logo is going to happen in sports. Nike’s prominent presence in the internal communications at Florida State isn’t a surprise. Athletic apparel companies have been known to dictate everything from the design of a team’s uniform to whether players are allowed to wear tape over their cleats.