When LeBron James – a Powerade endorser – left Game 1 of the NBA Finals due to cramps, Gatorade trolled hard.
Today, the sports drink deleted its tweets and apologized.
The company’s statement, via the Associated Press:
“Our apologies for our response to fans’ tweets during (Thursday) night’s Heat vs. Spurs game,” Gatorade said in a release. “We got caught up in the heat of the battle. As a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team.”
Caught up in the heat of the battle? I hope that pun was intended. I also imagine a giant bottle of orange Gatorade talking to a bewildered LeBron.
LeBron didn’t seem in the mood to accept the apology at his media availability Friday.
“I really don’t care what people say about me, I don’t care about that sports group, the drink group that I’m not even going to say their name,” LeBron said when asked about the Gatorade tweets. “I’m not going to give them a light in The Finals. This is about the Spurs and the Heat, and it’s not about everybody else, man, I don’t care.”
I don’t really care about the brand-management aspect of Gatorade also doing business with the Heat and NBA, two organizations of which LeBron is a member. That’s their decision whether selling out LeBron is good for the bottom line.
But I do appreciate this. Darren Rovell of ESPN:
the truth is James actually drinks Gatorade on the bench. He takes the label off and uses blank white towels that don’t have the Gatorade logo on them so as not to overtly endorse his competitor.