Adidas halts sales of Ware jerseys
by Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA — A spokesperson for adidas told USA TODAY Sports that the company has stopped selling t-shirts with Louisville guard Kevin Ware’s No. 5 due to a “use of logo issue.”
Earlier this week, adidas was advertising shirts for $24.99 through Louisville’s Web site that read “Ri5e To The Occasion,” which was supposed to pay tribute to Ware, who suffered a gruesome open fracture to his right tibia last Sunday in the Midwest Regional Final. Ware has subsequently become a national sensation, appearing on the David Letterman Show on Thursday before traveling to Atlanta for the Final Four.
Ware was not made available to the media on Friday due to fatigue, according to Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein.
Initially, Louisville said it had waived any traditional royalties for sales of the t-shirt and that instead adidas would make contributions to the university’s scholarship fund.
But questions have subsequently arisen about the t-shirt, both in the appropriateness of profiting off Ware’s injury and whether it might violate NCAA rules since Louisville acknowledged that the No. 5 represents Ware. Schools aren’t allowed to sell merchandise that references a specific player.
The NCAA is currently facing a potential landmark lawsuit brought by former UCLA player Ed O’Bannon over the use of college athletes’ images.
Asked what he thought about the fact that a shoe compay and a university could profit off the sale of a shirt in this circumstance while Ware gets nothing, Louisville point guard Peyton Siva said: “I don’t think it’s right.”
“For him to get the notoriety, I think it’s awesome,” Siva said. “But as far as profits and everything, it kind of sucks, him being in college that he can’t really see any of it. Hey, they give our school a lot of money so in the end it works out for both.”… [For more on Adidas halts sales of Kevin Ware-inspired No. 5 jerseys, click here.]