Thank you for supporting this petition, and thank you to the Oregon Women's Basketball team for a historic season. This is the proudest I have ever felt supporting a sports team. For the first time in Oregon school history, we made it to the Final Four, and as tough of a loss as the game against Baylor was, I am so excited for what this program has achieved and will achieve in the coming years.
Sports were a big part of my life when I was growing up. They had an impact on who I interacted with socially, they taught me how to be part of a team, how to respect coaches, and how to win and lose. As a kid, I dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. I loved the sport and was able to watch my favorite player Ichiro Suzuki play for the Seattle Mariners. I would say to myself, “I want to be like Ichiro someday.” I would mimic his batting stance in games and practice, study his techniques, and I remember buying his jersey that I would proudly wear it to school so I could show my admiration for him as a player and role model, as well as show my passion for the sport of baseball.
I had not given any thought to what wearing an official team jersey meant to me until this year’s basketball season. I have been really inspired by the Oregon Women’s Basketball team. I see the kind of impact these players have on the community, so myself along with a few friends wanted to buy an authentic Nike Oregon Women’s Basketball jersey to show our support. When there were none to buy, I realized I had taken for granted being able to show support for the male players and teams I admired. Jerseys for male teams and players is a given, it’s time for jerseys to be made that recognize more female athletes so that young women dreaming of becoming professional athletes, and women’s sports fans can support those players.
So we started this petition asking Nike a simple question, why can't we purchase a jersey with a number representing any players on the incredibly talented Oregon Women's Basketball team, but we can buy ones that recognize players from the men's team? Clearly, I'm not the only one who feels this way because we are going to pass 5,000 signatures.
The most rewarding part of doing this has been seeing the comments on the petition from men and women, like, “My daughter should be able to wear the jersey of her favorite players - just like boys can,” and “I shouldn’t have to explain to my 11-year-old daughter why she can’t get a Sabrina Ionescu Jersey.”
As a man who supports gender equality in all areas of life, I want to believe that if I have a daughter someday, she will get as much respect and support for her athletic, academic and professional success as a boy her age would.
Oregon Women’s Basketball isn’t the only Women’s sports team that deserves this recognition for their hard work and success, I'd love to see this change across all women’s teams and sports. The outcome of this petition can have a much bigger effect if companies like Nike recognize the success and support of Women’s sports teams by selling authentic jerseys representing the most inspirational players on those teams, so that young women dreaming of becoming professional athletes, and women’s sports fans can support those players.
Oregon is lucky to have support from a company like Nike. Student-athletes at the University of Oregon get access to some of the finest athletic facilities in the entire country, and we get some of the most exclusive gear and equipment in all of college sports. We are immensely grateful for all the incredible things Nike does and provides for us as fans and as a school, I just know that there is more they can do to support gender equality for female athletes around the world.
I believe Oregon is a great school to start this movement of selling female sports jerseys because I know we have the fan base that will support it. Please keep sharing this petition with other fans and anyone who works at Nike so we can make this request a reality.
Once a Duck, always a Duck. Thank you.