The topic of sports apparel companies making a profit by using Divison-1 athletes to sell products has been heavily debated over the years. Under no circumstances are college athletes allowed to be paid or receive “improper benefits,” yet their jersey numbers are plastered all over merchandise that is constantly flying off the shelves. It appears Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware is no exception.
Ware’s incredibly gruesome leg injury has been the talk of the nation since the Cardinals defeated Duke in the Elite 8 on Sunday evening. The team has decided to honor him with these warmup jerseys at the Final Four, and it looks like Adidas has decided to pay tribute to Ware by profiting from his injury with the T-shirt you see above. You can pre-order your very own “Ri5e to the Occasion” shirt today, which is currently selling for $24.99 on the Louisville athletic website.
When contacted by Larry Brown Sports, an employee from Louisville’s online apparel shop said that there has been no indication that proceeds from the shirt are going to support medical bills or any type of charity. The employee did mention that the shirts were not created “internally” and had come directly from Adidas.
Paying these young men and women would be insane, but profiting off someone’s horribly broken leg is great business.
UPDATE: A Louisville spokesperson told WDRB the school “proactively decided to waive any traditional licensing royalties revenue connected to the No. 5 graphic to be worn by the team on the court. . . . The shirt was created as a respectful tribute to honor Kevin within NCAA trademark apparel parameters, and allow fans to rally around the team. Because of that, adidas is contributing a portion of every sell to the university’s scholarship fund.”Google+