Raider's Number Change Costs Him Pocket Change

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Darrius Heyward-Bey is switching his number.

    It barely caused a ripple this week when Oakland Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey changed his number from No. 12 to No. 85 for next season. Heyward-Bey is not exactly LeBron James when it comes to having 600,000 fans who would need to go out and buy the new updated-number jersey.

    But ProFootballTalk.com looked into the matter, and found that players who change their number are required to pay Reebok for the backlog inventory of unsold shirts.

    Digging deeper, the site reported that DHB did indeed pay up. And his total bill for all those unsold jerseys came to less than $10,000.

    He's got it easy here. Heyward-Bey makes more than $7 million per year.

    But it makes one wonder, just how many DHB jerseys are now bound for clothing swaps in developing nations? How many Reebok NFL starter jerseys does it take to produce a $10,000 tab? And does that mean the jerseys were popular, or unpopular?

    Let's unpack this. A No. 12 Darrius Heyward-Bey Raiders jersey sold for a suggested retail price of $59.99.

    Of course, it's privileged information how much Reebok marks up those shirts for retail sales. It is also privileged information whether DHB was charged wholesale price, retail price, or Apple mobile devices price.

    But it's a generally accepted rule of thumb that retailers mark up their prices by 100% of wholesale cost, that is, they charge double what they paid.

    If that's the case, a less-than $10,000 bill means Heyward-Bey paid for fewer than 5,000 unsold jerseys.

    And just for kicks, the women in El Salvador who stitched those jerseys get ten cents per jersey they stitch. And their 57.5-hour workweek doesn't sound all that appealing, either.

    So does that mean Reebok sold a ton, leaving only a few thousand left? Or did they just not produce very many DHB jerseys to begin with?

    We know from Darren Rovell's crack reporting for CNBC that among 2009 rookies, only Michael Crabtree and Mark Sanchez made the top 25 jerseys sold. Not Darrius Heyward-Bey.

    Raiders fans who attend home games will tell you that they do, in fact, see some DHB jerseys being worn out there. But they will also tell you they saw roughly the same number of Jeff Hostetler Raiders jerseys this season as they saw Heyward-Bey Raiders jerseys.

    This all indicates that Reebok knew better than to produce a large number of Heyward-Bey jerseys. Maybe they suspected he was flaky with numbers.

    Dreaming that you could someday make a killing on eBay, after DHB's career takes off, if only you had a "vintage No. 12" Heyward-Bey jersey? Nothing's stopping you. The Heyward-Bey No. 12 jersey is still available on the online NFL Shop.

    And you would even help Heyward-Bey chip off some of that $10,000 he owes Reebok.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who only buys Reebok NFL jerseys from toothless bootleggers outside the Oakland Coliseum.