It's not uncommon to see NFL players and prospects sign sneaker and apparel deals, but offensive linemen aren't necessarily the first positions that come to mind when it comes to them. Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley just changed that, but it's not the type of deal we're accustomed to seeing. ESPN's Darren Rovell reports that Stanley has agreed to an endorsement deal with online retail company Zappos, making him the company's first professional athlete endorser.
Stanley's deal will give him the freedom to switch up the brands he wears on and off the field, instead of being restricted to just one like traditional agreements. "Most guys do a shoe deal and they don't have any flexibility because they are tied to who paid them. I can do whatever I want," said Stanley. The only restriction will come on the field where he'll have to chose between Nike, adidas, and Under Armour, who have deals with the NFL.
While this could lay the foundation for future deals between players and retail companies, Zappos wasn't necessarily looking to enter the area of professional athlete endorsements. Instead, this deal came after Stanley was matched with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh as part of Roc Nation Sports' CEO connect program. This program was designed to give Roc Nation Sports' athletes a mentor in the business world to help with their education during and after their careers. In exchange for him endorsing Zappos, Stanley will receive credit to purchase products for friends and family, along with a role helping to develop his business experience. This partnership is still in its very early stages, but this could help open up even more opportunities for retail brands to work with athletes.
Read the full story here.