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Nike expected to change MLB uniforms by 2025 after months of complaints, according to a union memo



Nike expected to change MLB uniforms by 2025 after months of complaints, according to a union memo

After months of complaints from fans and players, Nike is expected to change several elements of its new Major League Baseball uniforms by the start of the 2025 season, according to a memo obtained Sunday.

The MLB Players Association memo to players states that after weeks of discussions with the league and its official uniform supplier, Nike, “[d] indications” the following changes will be made: Returning to the larger lettering on the jersey tops and on the pants, bringing back the previous customization options, number of seam stitches and higher quality zipper present in 2023.

Moreover, as Nike mentioned earlier The AthleticsThe memo states that Nike is working on solutions to teams’ mismatched gray uniforms and sweat stains showing through jerseys.

“This was entirely a Nike issue,” the memo said. “What happened here at its core is that Nike innovated something that didn’t need to be innovated.”

It’s worth pointing out what the memo is and isn’t. First of all, it’s not a direct commitment from Nike. (Nike did not respond to a request for comment.) It is the union that keeps players informed about perceived progress on that front. There is also no promise to return to the uniforms of previous seasons. The Nike Vapor Premier is here to stay, as far as the fabric and overall jersey design goes.

Nike released the Vapor Premier this spring after first introducing it at the 2023 All-Star Game to immediate backlash. Fans ripped certain designs, especially the oddly small name on the back. Players have destroyed the fitting process of the pants and the cheap feel of the fabric.

Once the season started, sweat stains appeared and street gray was noted to have different shades and pants started to blow out along the seam — apparently due to a change in the number of stitches. (One issue not mentioned in the memo is the see-through nature of the pants, because as previously reported, well-placed sources say the fabric of the pants has not changed this year, although some smaller details like the zipper and belt loops mean that did.)

“We alerted Nike to several changes when they previewed them in 2022, especially regarding pants,” the memo said. “MLB was and has been aware of our concerns. Unfortunately, until recently, Nike’s position essentially boiled down to ‘nothing to see here, players will have to adapt.’”

MLB and MLBPA declined comment.

By blaming Nike, the MLBPA continued to support Fanatics, the manufacturer of the uniforms. For months, as more and more problems arose with the new uniforms, Fanatics generated much of the public outrage over the mess. MLBPA has repeatedly publicly exonerated Fanatics, doing so again in Sunday’s memo: “Fanatics has been and continues to be a great partner to the players and has been making the uniforms for the past eight years without any issues.” In addition to the partnership with MLB and Nike, Fanatics also has a lucrative licensing agreement with the players’ union and the MLBPA has invested in Fanatics.

Fanatics declined comment.

“Fanatics recognize the critical importance of soliciting player feedback, gaining player buy-in and not being afraid to have difficult conversations about jerseys or trading cards,” the memo said.

“Our hope is that Nike will take a similar approach in the future.”

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(Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)