Florida State Seminoles football officials received an email last season from Nike officials asking the university to remove Under Armor branded apparel from Jimbo Fisher‘s 9 year-old Ethan Fisher‘s wardrobe.
According to the report by the Wall Street Journal, Nike representative Mark Dupes, who’s a director of marketing licensing and apparel, sent an email to the Florida State athletic department congratulating the team on their win over the Miami Hurricanes on Nov. 2. The email makes reference to Jimbo’s son Ethan wearing an Under Armor Seminoles sweatshirt while embracing his dad on the field after the game, with the moment being caught by media cameras.
After discovering this, Dupes sent this in reply to Florida State, “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 at 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”.
Nike should read the agreement with Florida State that is clearly written only Jimbo Fisher has to sponsor Nike apparel at official university functions. There’s no mention of family in the agreement because they’re not official representatives of the Florida State Seminoles. Nike’s bold stance over a sweatshirt directed toward Fisher’s family and Florida State is not only absurd but completely out of line. Considering what Ethan has gone through in his short life, this should be the last thing Nike should be concerned about. When Ethan was just five years-old, he was diagnosed with fanconi anemia, a rare and life threating blood disease. There’s currently no cure for the disease with an average life expectancy of about 30 years.
With no exclusive apparel rights for Seminoles’ merchandise, Nike doesn’t have much of a fight on their hands. Regardless of what’s branded on a sweatshirt, a kid should never be the target of a huge corporation, especially one that relies on horrible decision making.
Nike is wrong and should issue an apology to everyone involved along with focusing their attention on what they’re good at, the marketing and development jerseys. Florida State has come out of this looking good and will continue driving towards a repeat national championship this season.