Nike Pulls ‘Boston Massacre’ Shirts From Stores, Plus A Look Back At Other Notorious Sports Ad/Product Recalls

  • Rick Chandler

Eric Stangel is a head writer and producer for Late Night With David Letterman. On Saturday while shopping at Nike Outlet in, I assume, the Upper East Side, he found this (pictured), and thought it in rather poor taste.

The shirt, of course, refers to the sweeps of the Red Sox by the Yankees in 1978 and 2006, and the skirmish between British soldiers and American colonists that helped ignite the Revolutionary War (the colonists won that series in seven games). But following the Boston Marathon tragedy, hopefully they’ll stop using that phrase. For the baseball games, I mean.

USA Today:

The athletic company based in Portland, Ore., said Monday that it took immediate action last week to remove the products. The shirts were sold primarily at its factory store outlets.

“We conducted this process as quickly as possible and are confident the product has been removed from distribution,” Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

Here are some other notorious sports-related product/ad recalls:

1. Oscar Pistorious ad.

Nike strikes again with this TV and print ad, which debuted well ahead of the incident in which Olympic runner Oscar Pistorious was accused of shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Still, the ad was still running, and Nike came under criticism. So they pulled it.

2. Adidas shackle shoes.

Adidas called them their JS Roundhouse Mids, which featured plastic chains and ankle cuffs. They were set to hit the market this past summer, but aside from being hideous and impractical, the media began calling them “slave shackle shoes”. Among those to complain: the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said that civil rights groups had contacted David Stern and asked him to intercede, and that boycotts were being planned. It’s not known if Stern actually made a call, but Adidas quickly pulled the plug, and the shoes were not released.

3. Creepy Tiger/Earl Woods ad.

Seemingly within minutes of this Nike TV ad being released in 2010, YouTube parodies like this one began rolling out, being as it as less than a year following Tiger’s SUV accident and fall from grace. Nike didn’t actually pull this ad, in which the voice of Tiger’s late father, Earl Woods, can be heard lecturing him, but probably wishes it did. Don Draper says: Fail.

4. Tiger Woods for Gatorade.

Wait, is what in me? Gatorade says it had decided to discontinue its Tiger Woods-themed sports drink, Tiger Focus, before the infamous 2009 infidelity scandal broke. I’m not buying it. Anyway, now the bottles are collector’s items, as are Gatorade slogans such as the one above.