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An Open Letter to My Friends at Nike

For this week’s Uni Watch Premium article on Substack, I’ve written a lengthy letter to Nike with advice on how they should address the current controversy regarding their new MLB uniforms.

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also give you full access to my Substack archive). My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

Comments (20)

    Is it really an open letter if it’s behind a paywall?

    This is not a criticism of your move to Substack, I totally get it. Just a semi-sarcastic observation.

    For years, “Open Letters” were published in newspapers and magazines that you had to buy.

    The term “Open” refers to it being public, as opposed to privately sent in an envelope.

    With corporations and politicians running amok without accountability, it appears that our only recourse, sometimes, is the heartfelt and well-researched letter.

    Actually, we do have mechanisms for holding politicians accountable (they’re called elections), and also for corporations (it’s called the marketplace).

    My letter wasn’t intended as an accountability mechanism. It was just, as clearly stated, some friendly advice.

    I had the marketplace in mind with my open letter to Nike:

    Dear Swooshketerrs,

    You are the Bob Nutting of sports apparel makers. Just like the Pirates’ owner, you bring in millions and millions of dollars, but you cheap out when it comes to the product you put on the field. It’s so blatant at this point that it’s embarrassing. No amount of “lighter, faster, better” corporate-speak is going to justify your cheapness. And enough with the “lighter, faster, better” already. No one has an advantage from it if everyone is wearing the same thing.

    Either put your money into making quality products, or get out. As it stands now, I won’t give Major League Baseball another dime until you, Mr. Nutting, and his commissioner Rob Manfred are out of the game. Have a nice day.


    That was the first time I have seen the graphic for their new design. Things that stuck out at me:
    1) The need to tell people the swoosh in embroidered, I mean they seem pretty confident asserting that fans really want to wear an authentic looking makers mark, more so than describing how the design of the actual team the fans support is made (crest, numbers, sleeve patch, etc).
    2) Their sustainability message is such a joke. Nike is all about consumerism, consumerism, no matter how much you use recycled products, is anti sustainable, because Nike wants to sell more more more. They market at you to buy stuff you dont need (or possibly don’t even really want), and that stuff isn’t made to last. They would be more sustainable by simply producing good products (regardless of how they were made) that would last, and stop creating countless alternate uniform designs that only last a season or so with the explicit intent of manipulating the psyches of fans who feel like they always need to have the latest design.

    Paul, have you figured out yet if all of the previously published content will continue to be available after the transition?

    I must have read 5 articles today alone about how everyone hates these new “Fanatics” jerseys. How the hell is Nike getting off completely clean? Are they such a corporate juggernaut that the media is scared to hold them accountable AT ALL?

    Whether it’s the old pants, the new pants, or both…doesn’t it make you wonder how anything like this ever made it this far? I mean, how do pants that look like they were made for the Chippendale’s company softball team get all the way through the production stage, without someone saying, “Hey, wait a sec…those look like shit. Maybe we should do something about it before we make any more….”

    Granted, you can say the same thing about a lot of DESIGN in recent years, but at least design is still somewhat subjective. These pants are objectively ridiculous….just mind-blowing…

    When I found out that Nike was going to take over the MLB uniforms I bought one each of the Phillies variants because I knew I wouldn’t want what Nike would make. The swoosh above the team name is just terrible. They’re on the sleeves for the NFL, should be the same with baseball.

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