During the game, Robert Griffin III was just about flawless in his NFL debut against the New Orleans Saints Sunday. But he led the Washington Redskins into the loudest building in the NFL and performed beautifully in a stunning 40-32 Redskins victory.
His only faux pas had nothing to do with his effort. Griffin will be hearing from the NFL in the next day or so because he took a page out of Michael Jordan’s book from 1992.
Griffin has signed a lucrative endorsement deal with adidas. NFL team uniforms are produced by Nike. See where this going?
So, in an act of loyalty to adidas, Griffin had the word “Heart” scribbled on the left side of his undershirt before the game on Sunday.
The message in the word was obvious. It was going to take a lot of heart to perform well in New Orleans. But the way the word was written and where it was written – the “H” big enough to cover the Nike swoosh – was obvious it was intended to conceal his endorser’s competition.
For the NFL, that was a no-no.
Players are allowed to wear logos of shoe brands that endorse them as long as those brands have deals with the league. They are not, however, allowed to cover up the swoosh of Nike, which is in its first year of a five-year deal with the NFL.
Griffin won’t likely be fined because the shirt was only visible before pregame warmups, but NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN.com that league officials would talk to him.
“It won’t happen again,” McCarthy said.
Griffin, who threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-32 upset of the Saints, could have gotten the idea of covering up the logo from Jordan. There was much controversy back in ’92 about the same thing.
Jordan, of course, was with Nike. The Team USA uniforms were Nike. But their warm up suits to be worn on the gold medal stand were produced by Reebok. Jordan, not wanting to be seen in anything other than Nike, covered the Reebok logo by draping an American flag over his shoulder.
Griffin was not so subtle. But then, he could not have draped a flag over his shoulder, either. Besides, you could clearly see the Nike swoosh on his jersey.