It’s hard to say which is more ridiculous: the logo creep on practice jerseys in the NFL (hardly an outfit that needs to squeeze moneyblood from rocks), or Eli Manning’s high-level endorsement deal with Citizen watches. And now, those trains collide in yet another indication that the NFL is only tangentially about football.
(One time in high school, I was playing football and I forgot to take off my watch before I went on the field. The little dial on the side dug into my arm on a play and I did some bleeding. I hope Eli doesn’t make the same mistake because it didn’t really hurt much, but it sure was embarrassing.)
You see, the Giants have inked a practice jersey ad deal with Timex. It makes sense, since Timex’s slogan is “takes a self-inflicted bullet to the thigh and keeps on ticking” and all - oh, but didn’t the Giants waive Plaxico? Now I just don’t know what to believe - which creates a bit of a conundrum for the quarterback.
Darren Rovell has the bizarre specifics:
Manning’s jersey has the patch on it and news crews might be able to film the small patch – 3½ inches by 4½ inches - from afar, but for this practice and all future practices, Manning is not expected to give Timex much love due to his conflict of interest. We’re told Manning will do interviews before practice in a t-shirt and will take off his pads for any interviews after practice.
Okay, that seems perfectly reasonable. Except not at all.
Rovell ties it all together in a “do teams even own practice jersey rights” question, which seems overly complicated. Yes, there’s a conflict of interest where Eli Manning is concerned. There isn’t one for the rest of the team.
Why not craft jersey deals with exemptions for pre-existing individual endorsements? It would take a negligible amount of time to write in the clause that a player who already has a sponsorship with a competitor may wear a practice jersey without the ad patch? Doesn’t that seem a little more common-sense than keeping Eli Manning 150 feet from any cameras during practices and making sure nobody sees his practice jersey before and afterward?
After all, it’s not like Timex gets one iota of benefit from having their logo on Manning’s jersey. It’ll never serve its purpose, mainly because it’ll never be photographed on him - the Giants and Manning will make sure of that. So couldn’t he just cover it up or something and save everybody the trouble? This is foolish.