Lioness Mary Earps hits back at Nike after sports brand defends decision NOT to sell replica of England star’s goalkeeper jersey
Mary Earps has hit back at Nike after the company released a statement that defended the company’s decision not to sell replica England goalkeeper jerseys.
The Manchester United keeper won the golden glove at the World Cup, where she saved a penalty in the Lionesses’ 1-0 defeat to Spain in Sunday’s final.
Earps has become a firm fan favourite as interest in the women’s game has boomed – including the Euros success last summer.
But her performance has been marred by Nike’s controversial decision not to sell the shirt of the Lioness heroine, who has since been hailed as a ‘national hero’ that ‘deserves the world’ following her performance at this year’s tournament.
Nike came in for criticism before the tournament when it became apparent replica Earps shirts would not be available.
As desperate fans resort to making their own Earps shirts, a petition set up against the decision has gained more than 113,000 signatures.
Mary Earps hit back at the company on Instagram after the release of the statement
Earps saved a penalty from Spain´s Jennifer Hermoso during the World Cup final. (Zac Goodwin/PA)
In a statement released after the World Cup final on Sunday, the kit manufacturer said: ‘Nike is committed to women’s football and we’re excited by the passion around this year’s tournament and the incredible win by the Lionesses to make it into the final.
‘We are proudly offering the best of Nike innovation and services to our federation partners and hundreds of athletes.
‘We hear and understand the desire for a retail version of a goalkeeper jersey and we are working towards solutions for future tournaments, in partnership with FIFA and the federations.
‘The fact that there’s a conversation on this topic is testament to the continued passion and energy around the women’s game and we believe that’s encouraging.’
But on Tuesday afternoon, Earps posted a screenshot of the statement on her Instagram stories, adding the comment: ‘@Nike is this your version of an apology/taking accountability/a powerful statement of intent?’
In a following post, Earps provided a link to a change.org petition that started in July, calling on Nike to release the goalkeeper shirt and it currently has more than 113,000 signatories.
The news comes as pressure continues to mount on Nike to overturn its decision not to sell Earps’ kits to her growing army of fans.
The petition, set up by a teenage fan of Earps, calls on Nike to begin manufacturing the shirts, pointing out that her Manchester United goalkeeper shirt has recently made its way to the third best-selling top on the site.
Emmy Louisa wrote: ‘We need to unite, and demand this decision is over turned.
‘We need to show togetherness and support Mary and ask Nike to rethink their decision.
Mary Earps of England dives as the ball goes over the crossbar during the Women’s World Cup Final football match
Mary Earps won the golden glove at this year’s World Cup, despite England losing out in the final to Spain
‘Let’s make them see just how important our female goalkeepers are. How respected they are and how many young girls aspire to join them in the future.
‘Any type of exclusion is unacceptable in this day and age and we need to show we will not stand for it.
‘Mary and all female goalkeepers, we love and respect you. You are inspirational and we are behind you.’
And in a sly dig at the fashion giant following Sunday’s final in Sydney, Australia, former England men’s keeper David Seaman tweeted: ‘Bet @Nike are regretting not selling the #MaryEarps shirt now.’
Nike, which manufactures the England kit, has been blasted for choosing not to sell a replica shirt with Earps’ name and number, unlike other players.
Earps discovered she had been left out of promotional pictures when the Lionesses World Cup kit was launched in April and that her shirt would not be available.
The Manchester United keeper raised the issue with Nike and even offered to fund the production herself but was told this would not be possible.
The England goalie, whose roaring ‘f*** off’ after she saved Jennifer Hermoso’s penalty became a standout moment from the women’s World Cup Final, slammed Nike’s ‘hugely hurtful’ decision not to stock replicas of her shirt for fans to buy.
Speaking at Brisbane hotel last month about how the fashion giant was not selling her jersey, Earps said: ‘I can’t really sugarcoat this any way so I’m not going to try, it’s hugely disappointing and very hurtful.
‘It’s something that I’ve been fighting behind closed doors. I’ve been desperately trying to find a solution with the FA and with Nike.
‘Unfortunately it’s become very evident that is not possible and there’s not going to be an acceptable solution for the young kids out there. On a personal level it’s obviously hugely hurtful, considering the last 12 months especially.’
Fans of Earps reacted with outrage upon signing the petition calling for replica shirts to be manufactured by Nike.
One said: ‘She has done us all proud – she is an exceptional goal keeper and a total inspiration to all young girls and boys to be honest. Total respect.’
Others dubbed her ‘Queen Mary’ and told how she had inspired their children to take up football.
Another said: ‘Goalkeepers should have the recognition they deserve, they are part of the team after all.
‘Mary Earps saved our early exit from the world cup several times! Come on! She and they deserve the recognition!!!’
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