Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants NBA players to wear jerseys made in the U.S.A., and he's going one-on-one against apparel giant Adidas to make it happen.
The Empire State senator is up in arms over Adidas's plan to outsource production of NBA basketball jerseys, currently manufactured in Perry, N.Y., to Thailand. At stake are approximately 100 jobs at American Classic Outfitters (ACO), which produces nearly half of all the game day jerseys worn by players in official league games.
Schumer made his case on Sunday at a press conference outside the NBA flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, which was bustling with customers on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.
He accused Adidas of "throwing an airball, big time," by planning to cancel its contract with ACO, and he urged the NBA to discontinue the use of Adidas jerseys if the company proceeds with the planned outsourcing.
Schumer said he spoke to NBA commissioner David Stern on the phone Saturday afternoon, after receiving what he called an unsatisfactory response from Adidas to his initial complaint. "I told [Stern] that basketball is America's game and game day jerseys the NBA players wear should be made in the U.S.A.," Schumer said. "Keeping the facility in Perry should be a slam-dunk."
While the NBA has no official position on where jerseys are manufactured, Schumer reported that "Commissioner Stern said he'd look into it and work with us. He seemed sympathetic. He's a man of his word, and I think the league understands how unfair this outsourcing is."
Following the press conference, the NBA released a statement offering to help facilitate a meeting between Adidas and Schumer. No word yet on whether Schumer will accept the offer.