adidas decided those Kevin Ware t-shirts weren’t worth the headache of bad press. Citing a “logo issue,” the company has stopped selling the Louisville “Rise To The Occasion” shirts which featured Ware’s jersey number. The move follows the university quickly distancing themselves from the shirts by waiving royalty fees, meaning they wouldn’t profit from any sales. adidas originally announced their plan to donate a portion of the sales to the university’s scholarship fund.
Apparently, those donations weren’t cutting it.
On Thursday, lawyers from Hagens Berman Sobol and Shapiro – the firm representing Ed O’Bannon and other former college atheletes in their case to be paid by the NCAA – said “money going to the scholarship fund doesn’t change things.” Firm partner Rob Carey went on to say “If they didn’t ask for Ware’s permission, they can’t sell the shirt, and if they did ask for his permission and he said, ‘Yes,’ that would be an NCAA violation and he would no longer be eligible.”
Even though the legal battle continues over exactly who should profit off college sports, it looks as if athletes won a victory against the NCAA, universities and brands in the court of public opinion.