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Volume 26 No. 5
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NBA To J.R. Smith: Cover Supreme Tattoo Or Face Fines

Supreme did not pay or sponsor Smith to tattoo its logo on the back of his leg
Photo: J.R. SMITH

Cavaliers G J.R. Smith "revealed on his Instagram account Saturday that the NBA has threatened discipline" for his tattoo of the logo for N.Y.-based streetwear company Supreme on the back of his leg if he "doesn't cover it up for games," according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Smith wrote, "So I was informed today that I would be fined every game if I don't cover up my 'SUPREME TATTOO' on my legs during games!! These people in the league office are something else!" Smith "finished the post with a middle finger emoji." NBA Exec VP/Communications Mike Bass said, "NBA rules prohibit players from displaying any commercial logos or corporate insignia on their body or in their hair" (ESPN.com, 9/29). In DC, Jacob Bogage noted Supreme did not pay or sponsor Smith to "put its logo on his body." Smith just "enjoys the brand and the work mark suits him." Smith could "conceivably cover the tattoo with some sort of tape or bandage or a sleeve" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/29).

TWITTER REAX: ESPN's Darren Rovell tweeted, "There is no debate that the NBA has the right to tell JR Smith he has to cover up the Supreme tattoo on his skin. Smith, by virtue of being an NBA player, agreed to those terms when the union signed the Collective Bargaining Agreement. ... The NBA has long contended they own the athlete’s skin while on the court. Been that way since Rasheed tried to get a Nestle tattoo in 2001." The Ringer's Jason Concepcion: "JR Smith has consistently pioneered new ways to get fined." The law firm of Goldberg Segalla tweeted Smith's tattoo "seems to run afoul" of league policy "as did the Adidas logo that was shaved in the head of the Knicks' Iman Shumpert back in 2013." Black Sports Online's Robert Littal: "Smith Makes Some Good Points on IG After NBA Threatens to Fine Him."