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Deadspin Offers Island And One Million Dollars To First Blog To Unpublish Brand Propaganda

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Did you hear the cool news? One prospective NFL player could win their own island at the NFL combine if they break the combine record in the 40-yard dash, set by Chris Johnson in 2008. Pretty cool! Here is ESPN brandbot-in-chief, Darren Rovell:

Breaking the record for the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL combine isn’t only about bragging rights. It might be about winning an entire island.


Rovell wasn’t the only principled journalist to write about this incredibly generous offer from Adidas, of course. He was joined by SB Nation, Breitbart, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Australia, CBS Sports, USA Today,, UPI, Yahoo, SEC Country, CBS DC, The Comeback, Sporting News, SportsGrid, CSN Mid Atlantic, Uproxx, Rocky Top Insider, Sportsnaut, Fanrag Sports,, Chat Sports,, Campus Sports, Gridiron Now, Athlon Sports, Hero Sports, KSBW, ArkansasOnline,,, KicksOnFire, The Outside Game, HotNewHipHop, and probably others.

And who wouldn’t write about this; it’s a great story! A shoe brand is generously giving away an island to somebody who achieves an amazing athletic achievement. Never mind the fact that the 40-yard dash has little predictive value as to whether a player will succeed in the NFL, it’s still cool.

Hold on, what’s that? There’s some fine print? Let’s check it out.

If at the NFL Scouting Combine, Athlete, who is a Designated Athlete: (1) wears adidas Shoes during the 40 Yard Dash


Hmm, they have to run the record-breaking dash in Adidas cleats. Okay.

3) Athlete enters into an Endorsement Agreement with adidas before the start of the 2017/2018 NFL regular season,


And they have to enter into an endorsement agreement with Adidas, no matter the terms Adidas offers.

Adidas shall have the right (in its sole discretion) to substitute payment of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) to Athlete in lieu of providing Athlete with the Island.


Wait, Adidas doesn’t even have to give away an island to fulfill the terms of its island-giving-away promotion?

Athlete shall be solely responsible for the payment of all taxes on any payments/benefits (specifically including the Island) received under this Agreement.


And the athlete will have to immediately pay about half the value of the prize to the IRS?

[if] the Endorsement Agreement is terminated (for any reason) by adidas during the first contract year of the Endorsement Agreement, then Athlete will immediately return any amounts received hereunder/transfer the Island to Adidas (or other third party) as directed by Adidas (all, at no cost to Adidas).


So even if the athlete wears Adidas cleats, breaks the record, signs the endorsement deal, wins the island, and pays taxes on said island, Adidas can terminate the endorsement agreement “for any reason” and make the athlete give back the island?

It’s scam. That word, on the tip of your tongue, to describe this situation? It’s scam. This is a scam. If a prospective NFL player jumps through all these hoops, Adidas will sign them to an endorsement agreement and “give” them something “worth” a million dollars. In other words, instead of paying the athlete as in a typical endorsement agreement, they’ll pay the athlete as in a typical endorsement agreement minus one million dollars, plus an island valued at one million dollars.


For this stunning act of generosity—going about its normal business of signing athletes who might help sell football gear to endorsement agreements—Adidas got fellated by a sports press eager to keep the viral content glurge machine humming. I would say the sports press got duped, but that overestimates their intelligence, as Adidas didn’t hide the duping. The sports press duped themselves.

Here at Deadspin we are fundamentally against deleting articles. We believe deleting posts is a cowardly attempt to pretend you never did the thing that made you delete the post, and instead you should correct the error or formally retract the post, apologize if warranted, and leave it up for the whole world to see.


But we understand how embarrassing, how shameful it is to be taken in by Adidas’s transparent marketing—to have performed public relations for Adidas without being paid by Adidas—and how strong the desire must be to have that mistake erased from the internet forever. So in the spirit of generosity, Deadspin will give the first author who deletes their craven brand humping both an island* AND one million dollars.** Take THAT Adidas!

Terms and conditions apply.

*Island by Aldous Huxley
** One million Zimbabwe dollars, valued at its effective exchange rate on Nov. 1, 2008 

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About the author

Kevin Draper

Reporter at the New York Times

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