Following the horrific leg injury suffered by Kevin Ware of Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, Adidas is now selling the shirt seen at right for $24.99. While the sentiment is nice for the fans, Adidas is profiting on the injury and Ware will never see a dime.
Here is the statement released by Adidas in which they admit that they will only donate “a portion” of each sale…
“This “Ri5e to the Occasion” shirt has been created as a respectful tribute within NCAA trademarked apparel parameters, and allows fans to rally around them team. Because of that UofL proactively waived any licensing royalties connected to this graphic and Adidas is contributing a portion of every sell to the University’s scholarship fund.”
Notice that like college jerseys that are sold by schools and apparel companies, Ware’s name does not appear on the shirt. This allows Adidas, the NCAA, and the schools, to get around having to pay the players a licensing fee. The NCAA is basically trying to convince us that these products are generic and don’t refer to specific players, which is of course, a load of doo doo.
For its part, Louisville has agreed to waive any royalties that they would be entitled to. But all that means is that more money is going into the deep pockets of Adidas.
Of course, this has been going on for years. In addition to jersey and t-shirt sales, EA Sports is currently being sued by former college athletes for using their likenesses in video games without compensation.
Ware’s injury is just the latest, and possibly most egregious, example yet of the NCAA, schools, and corporations taking advantage of free labour, while trying to maintain a veil of the “student-athlete.” And sooner or later, a lawsuit is going to come along that will radically redefine how these athletes are treated.
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