Jimbo Fisher and his son shared a great moment back in November after Florida State came away with a huge win over Miami. You would have to be cold-hearted to not crack a smile watching 9-year-old Ethan sprint into his dad’s arms. The folks at Nike were frowning.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered an email exchange that took place between a Nike official and Florida State administrators hours after the Seminoles’ Nov. 2 victory. After congratulating FSU on their big win and thanking them for “everything you all do for us,” Nike assistant director of football sports marketing Mark Dupes had an interesting favor to ask.
“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 ad 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”
Yes, Nike was concerned about a 9-year-old wearing an Under Armour sweatshirt. The Wall Street Journal asked FSU’s senior associate athletics director Monk Bonasorte about the request, and he said FSU administrators interpreted it as a “joke.”
“What am I going to do, go to coach and say, ‘Hey can you take that shirt off him?'” Bonasorte said. “I’m not going to call Jimbo Fisher and tell him what his son can wear.”
Nike said in a statement that its relationship with FSU athletics does not extend to the coach’s family and Fisher declined to comment. For what it’s worth, Ethan was shown wearing Nike brand apparel during and after subsequent games — including when the Seminoles defeated Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game.
We know Nike is protective of its powerful brand, but that seems like a bit much.