Adidas: All Day I Dream About Sales

by

win for Ware

March Madness has come to an end with the Louisville Cardinals being crowned the Men’s NCAA Division 1 champions. But almost two weeks ago the spirit of the team was crushed when sophomore stand out Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome compound fracture to his right tibia on live television. If you were fortunate enough to miss that game you were spared the unexpected gross factor, but social media outlets like Twitter (#PrayForWare) and YouTube quickly got you caught up to speed.

CBS – the network that was broadcasting the game – acknowledged the severity and sensitivity of this injury and chose to limit the amount of times they replayed the incident. Instead, they took to airing the reactions of fellow teammates, the competing Duke team, and the expressions of those in the arena. I truly give CBS kudos for their tasteful actions.

However, not everyone involved in “March Madness” acted with such class. Almost immediately after Ware’s injury, Adidas – which is the University of Louisville’s athletic sponsor – created a T-shirt sporting their new slogan “Rise to the Occasion.” The problem? The “S” in “Rise” was the same font and color of Louisville’s #5, Kevin Ware’s jersey number. Adidas saw the endless amounts of prayers, well wishes, and support from fans, fellow Universities, and even NBA players, and so they decided to capitalize on the situation. They directly played on the emotions of the consumers who were supporting the student-athlete, and used that player’s injury to make a buck.

For $24.99 consumers were able to purchase the t-shirt (until recently when Adidas pulled the t-shirt from sales). What makes this marketing fiasco even more of a hot topic is the constant discussions of whether or not college athletes should be paid. I personally do not think student-athletes should be compensated. You choose to play a sport, you choose to go to a big time school, and if you’re a great player you go into that University knowing that your school will profit off of your success. I personally believe student-athletes and their schools use each other to better themselves. The school provides the platform for you to be seen, bettering your chances of playing professionally, and in return they market your legacy to attract revenue and recruit new students.

The issue that I have with Adidas is that Kevin Ware wasn’t the all-star player on Louisville’s roster. He became famous because of his injury, and to profit off of his misfortune is distasteful to say the least. His injury was used by a multibillion dollar company for marketing, and the NCAA as well as Louisville stood idly by instead of protecting their student-athlete from exploitation.

Kevin Ware’s basketball future seems uncertain. To come back from such an extreme injury will take time, dedication, and support from those around him. My hope is that the school and the NCAA remember that this is a young man who may go pro at something other than sports, so it is important for them to support him on and off the court.

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