Social media reacted negatively Wednesday to new “Ri5e to the Occasion” shirts that adidas began selling on its website for $24.99 a pop. The shirt references a slogan already used in Louisville team apparel, but is modified slightly to include the No. 5, that of which currently belongs to guard Kevin Ware.
Ware, of course, suffered a gruesome leg injury in Louisville’s Elite Eight win over Duke. But the shirts that originally were for team use only have now been made available for commercial sale.
In response to the negative press, Louisville responded. This comes in a report from Eric Crawford of WDRB:
U of L associate athletic director Brent Seebohm said that U of L, “proactively decided to waive any traditional licensing royalties revenue connected to the No. 5 graphic to be worn by the team on the court. . . . The shirt was created as a respectful tribute to honor Kevin within NCAA trademark apparel parameters, and allow fans to rally around the team. Because of that, adidas is contributing a portion of every sell to the university’s scholarship fund.”
Regardless of whether Louisville says it is profiting or not, it highlights the reality of big-time college athletics. It’s about money. Adidas is using Derrick Rose’s comeback story as a way to sell shoes and apparel, too. The only difference is, Rose inked a $260 million deal with the company.
Kevin Ware has no such contract and won’t see a dime of the revenue.