Penn State Football’s Jersey Recruit Graphic Is Problematic
Two weeks ago, I was minding my own business, scrolling through Twitter, when I stumbled upon this image posted by Garrett Nussmeier, a four-star quarterback recruit in the class of 2021.
Nussmeier posted this official graphic from Penn State football to announce his visit to Penn State for the White Out. While it’s standard practice for football programs to make graphics for their recruits, this one is a bit odd.
Rather than taking a picture of him in a full Penn State football uniform and Photoshopping it into a super cool edit, as LSU did below, the Nittany Lions decided to show Nussmeier what the future would be like with kids at Beaver Stadium wearing his jersey.
No offense to Penn State football’s recruiting and graphics teams, but what are you trying to accomplish here?
Instead of saying, “We can’t wait to have you on our team,” Penn State seems to be saying, “We can’t wait to profit off of your likeness by selling your jersey to all of these children.”
This probably isn’t the best message to send to recruits.
Of course, Penn State can’t actually sell player jerseys. Ever since Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA in 2014, teams have put an end to selling officially-licensed jerseys with their star players’ numbers. Schools now sell jerseys with the No. 1 and/or the last two digits of the current season, making it rather convenient to have a star player who wears either of those two numbers. All those people wearing No. 19 jerseys aren’t doing it out of admiration for Trent Gordon.
Perhaps Penn State is optimistic about Pennsylvania passing the Fair Pay to Play Act during Nussmeier’s career after he arrives on campus in the fall of 2021, so maybe he can profit off of his own likeness and through officially-licensed jersey sales. Otherwise, since Nussmeier already missed his opportunity to play here in 2013, and we’ll all be dead by 3013, it’s safe to assume that these children purchased illegitimate jerseys from websites like AliExpress.
This implies that Penn State is sending an even worse message: “Look at all of the money that counterfeit jersey manufacturers will make off of your likeness when you come here, but it’s all good as long as you don’t make a dime.”
Insinuating that someone will be profiting off of a recruit’s likeness is bad enough, but the last name on the back of the jerseys? That is straight up heresy. We all know how the saying goes: no names, all game.
At a certain point, you have to ask if we’re really sending the right message with these recruit graphics. Maybe Penn State should just steal LSU’s idea and Photoshop a
mountain Nittany lion behind Nussmeier and other recruits. It seems like it would be a heck of a lot cooler and way less problematic.
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