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Ball Don't Lie

Nike designer apologizes for saying injured Derrick Rose, an adidas man, ‘chose poorly’

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

After Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending ACL tear during the Chicago Bulls' 103-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday afternoon, the reaction of NBA fans, media members and fellow players alike consisted largely of shock and sorrow. A bummed-out legion began to wrap its mind around the enormity of the 2011 NBA MVP's injury and what it means for the top-seeded Bulls' title hopes and, potentially, the career arc of one of the league's brightest young superstars.

I say "largely" because the reaction also contained stuff like this, from the Twitter account of Jason Petrie, a "senior footwear designer at Nike," according to LinkedIn, and the designer of the popular Nike basketball sneakers worn and endorsed by Miami Heat star LeBron James:

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(Screencap via @sevenzro1, Nike designer Jason Petrie's Twitter feed)

"Pooh," of course, is the nickname Rose was given by his grandmother when he was a kid. Rose, of course, wears and endorses adidas shoes; the Bulls point guard recently signed a 13-year endorsement deal with the shoemaker that, with incentives, could pay him more than $200 million. The intimation, of course, is that Rose wouldn't have torn a ligament in his left knee if the shoes on his feet when he landed that jump stop were emblazoned with a swoosh. Of course.

[Related: Derrick Rose's knee injury casts pall on Bulls' hopes | Video]

On Sunday morning, Petrie took to Twitter to apologize:

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(Screencap via @sevenzro1, Nike designer Jason Petrie's Twitter feed)

In context, the hashtag "#GWS" in Petrie's initial tweet likely stood for "get well soon," which is the kind of thing you say to someone who just suffered a severe injury and is going to need surgery, rehabilitation and an awful lot of rest and healing before he can resume regular life activities, let alone go back to being one of the best basketball players alive. The other stuff, where you use someone else's trauma as a ostensible promotion vehicle ... well, that's not really what you say.

You might think it — Petrie's tweet wasn't the only one I saw that made the "correlation equals causation" jump between Rose and New York Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert wearing adidas on the court and suffering injuries on Saturday. But you don't say it. Not if you've got some compassion, perspective or appreciation for the fact that, as a representative for brands as mammoth as Nike and LeBron James, snarkily reveling in someone else's trauma — especially a well-liked someone like Rose, whom "everyone loves," according to James' Heat teammate Dwyane Wade, who's signed with Nike subsidiary Jordan Brand — probably isn't a great move, corporate-wise.

[Marc Spears: Derrick Rose injury clears path for LeBron, Heat]

Petrie followed up his statement that Rose "chose poorly" in not signing with Nike by claiming that "Y'all" — presumably the number of people who took issue with the way Petrie responded to Rose's injury — "take sh#t too serious! Never want to see anyone get hurt- I hope DRose comes back stronger than ever, he's too good."

Later, after several other Saturday night statements — about how he was just speaking his mind, that he was encountering "a lot of tough guys on Twitter" after his remarks, that he doesn't much care for people who are not "with him," that "sensitive thugs" displeased with his commentary could use a hug, and that anyone of the belief that he cared about their differing opinions didn't know him — Petrie offered a more formal apology, saying the comment about Rose's choice "was really just tongue n cheek! Never meant any harm or disrespect!"

The Bulls will resume their first-round series against the 76ers on Tuesday night at 8 p.m., when Game 2 tips off at the United Center.

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