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#pounditWednesday, April 17, 2024

Fanatics CEO deflects blame over MLB uniform fiasco

Michael Rubin on a red carpet

Jul 10, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers owner Michael Rubin arrives on the red carpet at Microsoft Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The CEO of Fanatics, the company tasked with manufacturing Major League Baseball’s much-maligned new uniforms for 2024, defended his company and tried to deflect blame in public comments on Friday.

Michael Rubin, a former Philadelphia 76ers minority owner, spoke at a sports analytics conference on Friday, but was inevitably questioned about the controversy surrounding the uniforms his company manufactured. Rubin said Fanatics had been doing “everything as we’ve been told” and suggested Nike and MLB failed to get players on board with the changes.

“A difficult position for us — we’re doing everything as we’ve been told and we’re getting the s— kicked out of us. So that’s not fun,” Rubin said, via Michael Silverman of The Boston Globe. “Biggest thing I probably learned is if we’re involved in something, we need to make sure that everybody better be on board. … They got certain players on board, not all players on board.”

On one hand, Nike designed the uniforms, so Fanatics can only be blamed for so much. Still, it is hard to imagine they had no say in the process, and it’s tough to absolve the manufacturer when players are complaining about their quality and fit.

A number of players are unhappy with the uniform changes, and one prominent issue has drawn particular attention among fans. It remains to be seen if any changes are made prior to Opening Day at the end of March.


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