NFL players wear their hearts under their uniforms

When Odell Beckham Jr returned in September for his first game against the Cleveland Browns since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament nearly a year ago, he had options for his warm-up equipment.

The brilliant receiver has for many years been one of the league’s more stylish players. He wearing a $190,000 Richard Mille watch for a game in 2019 and this season, he wore underwear and gloves customized by Chrome Hearts, a luxury fashion line whose items can sell for thousands of dollars.

Knowing his pregnancy warm-up would likely last several minutes of camera time, he chose his outfit carefully, staying away from a well-known brand for a matching white t-shirt. photo of Jarvis Landry, Beckham’s close friend and teammate at Louisiana State and in Cleveland, who suffered a knee injury shortly before Beckham was due to return.

Beckham’s shirt – actually caught on camera – was designed by Bruce Thompson, a Beckham-like New Orleans native, whose custom designs have become a popular way to get star players. The NFL shows their love for each other before wearing their uniforms.

Thompson, now the CEO of his own clothing brand, became close to the Beckham family after meeting Odell Sr., Beckham’s father, when he returned to New Orleans to attend high school after three years. in Texas because of Hurricane Katrina. He graduated from Miller-McCoy Academy and won a scholarship to play the receiver at Langston University, an NAIA program in Oklahoma.

Although Thompson was announced to attend the 2017 NFL Draft, he was not selected. After a trial with the New Orleans Saints failed to land a spot on the list, he turned to fashion, although he and Beckham still train together regularly for seasons.

“He didn’t necessarily have to fulfill his dream of being in the NFL, and this is something he’s worked so hard on and dedicated to,” Beckham said. “You see a guy who is really a great person and works hard to find his way. I will always support that. ”

Thompson started his Dreamathon clothing brand in January 2021, at first selling only socks emblazoned with his logo – a cane-like figure reaching for a star – and motivational quotes. force. But that all changed after Beckham’s request for a t-shirt.

In the match after his return in September, Beckham once again turned to Thompson, wearing a black version of the same Landry shirt. Near the end of October, Vikings defensive back Cameron Dantzler, who hails from Hammond, La., wanted to salute the team’s captain, Patrick Peterson, who was injured ahead of the upcoming game. Dantzler contacted Thompson to create some kind of get well soon announcement, with images of Peterson in a Viking and LSU uniform stitched together. And Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase showed love for his quarterback – and former LSU teammate – Joe Burrow by wearing one of Thompson’s creations under his shirt during the game. The team’s first playoff in January.

It didn’t take long for players without a Louisiana connection to call Thompson – he said in an interview earlier this month that “hundreds” contacted him after seeing his works. posted on social media or mentioned by other players. Thompson’s designs evoke a nostalgic 1990s aesthetic – each with collages and bold, colorful fonts – although each player’s requirements are tailored to their preferences.

Several players asked Thompson for a shirt on Thursday before Sunday’s game. Others might search a month in advance, before meeting a particular competitor, or celebrating an important milestone or inspirational figure. Some solicited them for field cabinets or as gifts.

Thompson manages the business while training as a free agent, financing the production out of his own pocket.

“For me to just sit down and try to explain how I do it, I really don’t know,” Thompson said, adding that he hasn’t had a full night since October.

The NFL’s strict rules regarding in-game apparel don’t leave much room for personalization, as aside from some pre-selected social justice messages, players can either wear a helmet behind their back or some modifications can be made to the gloves and bras. But the rules governing what players wear during the warm-up are looser, and Thompson’s t-shirts have become essential for stars looking to support their peers.

Two days after Beckham’s relationship with the Browns soured and the team released him on November 5, Dantzler and Vikings recipient Justin Jefferson, another LSU alum, wore scribbled Dreamathon shirts with “Free Odell” in white chalk font.

Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk of the San Francisco 49ers wore shirts matching the image of Wes Welker, their position coach and former New England Patriots host, before the Dec. 19 game. The following week. , Samuel and at least four of his sports teammates tees emblazoned with pictures of their head coach, Kyle Shanahan, from his playing days as a receiver in Texas.

Shortly after former Denver Broncos player Demaryius Thomas was found dead at his home in December, Thompson made a t-shirt for Los Angeles Rams full-back Von Miller, who had been close with Thomas for eight years. the season they played together on the Broncos. Miller, who wore the shirt before the game in January, said he sees Thompson’s work as a way for NFL players to openly express their admiration for one another.

“We all know how much it takes to get to these moments,” Miller said, referring to the work the players do to get to the pros. “You do all of this to play some time on Sunday, and we respect that, win or lose.”

Thompson has already begun to envision a future that leverages his brand’s cache, and he hopes to collaborate with the NFL, other sports leagues, and design brands in the future. Although he declined to say whether players would pay him to purchase his equipment, he does sell a limited number of shirts online to the public for $60, along with Stockings and accessories sold out so quickly that replica versions of his shirts started being sold on other websites.

“I’ve always had crazy dreams,” Thompson said. “It’s just rubbing, and the same passion for football that I have for, I just put it into this.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/sports/nfl-tshirts-bruce-thompson.html NFL players wear their hearts under their uniforms

Fry Electronics Team

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