Florida State officials received an email from Nike during the 2013 season asking for Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher to eliminate any Under Armour gear from his son's wardrobe after the 9-year-old was seen on TV wearing the competitor's sweatshirt, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Mark Dupes, the Nike assistant director for football sports marketing who oversees FSU's licensing and apparel deal, sent an email congratulating athletic department officials for the team's victory over Miami on Nov. 2. In it, he references Fisher's son Ethan, who was caught on television cameras running and jumping into his father's arms after the victory.
"Hey guys great win and game! Appreciate everything you all do for us! Keep it rolling," Dupes wrote in the email, obtained by the WSJ under the Freedom of Information Act. "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".
FSU senior associate athletics director Monk Bonasorte told the Journal on Thursday that he never acted on the email, but thought Dupes' comment was made more in jest.
"What am I going to do, go to coach and say, 'Hey, can you take that shirt off him?'" Bonasorte told the WSJ. "I'm not going to call Jimbo Fisher and tell him what his son can wear.
"I think Mark was just trying to say, 'Hey, can the coach's son wear something else?' It was more just a joke to us. It wasn't Nike being the big bad wolf telling a kid what to wear."
Nike told the WSJ in a statement that its $4.2 million deal with FSU "does not extend to family members," though WSJ research showed that Ethan wore Nike apparel for the remainder of the team's national championship season.