Nike: Comments were 'inappropriate'
The man behind LeBron James' Nike sneakers apologized Sunday after he sparked outrage by mocking Adidas rival Derrick Rose over his season-ending ACL tear, saying the Chicago Bulls star chose the wrong shoe.
Senior footwear designer Jason Petrie tweeted Rose "#shouldasignedwithNIKE" after the reigning MVP suffered the knee injury in the Bulls' playoff series opener against the Philadelphia 76ers in Chicago on Saturday.
Rose signed a career deal with Adidas in February worth a minimum of $185 million over 13 years.
Petrie, who designed the sneakers worn and endorsed by Heat star James, made a comparison between his man and Rose, who he referred to by his family nickname, "Pooh."
"You got one guy only getting stronger, and one guy breaking down before our very eyes. You chose poorly Pooh... #shouldasignedwithNIKE #GWS [get well soon]," he tweeted.
Petrie received an angry response for his comments, which followers branded in "bad taste" and "classless."
Another tweeted, "Damn, you're an embarrassment to Nike tweeting that."
The designer attempted to draw back from the criticism, tweeting, "Y'all take sh#t too serious! Never want to see anyone get hurt- I hope DRose comes back stronger than ever, he's too good..."
More and more people expressed their disgust at his original ill-judged comment, and on Sunday he said he was sorry.
"Wow! Twitterverse I do apologize. It was really just tongue n cheek! Never meant any harm or disrespect!"
Nike released a statement on the issue, describing Petrie's comments as "inappropriate."
"As a brand that is passionate about sport, we recognize the intense level of play that every athlete has engaged in during this basketball season and respect the dedication it takes to compete," the statement said.
"One of our basketball footwear designers posted comments online that we feel are inappropriate, and he has since apologized. We wish anyone who is injured a speedy recovery."