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Fanatics Ruined Christmas

2:21 PM EST on December 28, 2023

The holidays are peak merch season; just think about how many people out there are craving an Erik Gudbranson jersey but aren't ready to buy it for themselves. Unfortunately for the gift-buying and -receiving public, pretty much all sports apparel these days falls under the purview of Fanatics, which might be the worst company on Earth (and I'm including the ones that make things that kill people).

You know the deal: If you want some officially licensed gear quickly, expensively, and with only a casual relationship to accuracy, Fanatics is your brand. Unfortunately a lot of people did not yet know the deal, or had no other choice, when purchasing jerseys and other apparel for their loved ones. Some of them were lucky enough to spot the errors before they wrapped their gifts...

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A Michigan hoodie with "Illinois" on both arms.
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...while others only discovered the fuck-ups after opening them.

A Colorado Avalanche jersey with the logo crooked by 120 degrees.
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All across North America, sports fans were forced to put on their finest rictuses and pretend like they were pleased with their gifts from well-meaning friends and family who don't understand what's wrong with your present, don't you love that Liam Draisailt guy?

A Leon Draisaitl jersey with his name spelled "Draisilt," and an "Islanders" shirt that says Rangers.
If you're wondering what's wrong with the second one, he ordered an Islanders shirt.Twitter

Look, anyone can misspell a star player's name, or mis-label a shipment. Let he who has not printed "Illinois" on the sleeves of a non-Illinois shirt cast the first stone. But I cannot in one million years even begin to imagine how these happened:

An Eagles jersey with no name and tiny numbers, and an Eagles shirt with the nameplate the size of a fingernail.
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Honestly, receiving a hoodie where they forgot to print anything on it is one of the better possible outcomes.

A "Coyotes" hoodie that has nothing printed on it.
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Compared to some of these, receiving the wrong team or name or uniform number is downright quaint by comparison.

A Chiefs jersey that says Broncos.
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A Raheem Mostert "31" jersey that has the number 13.
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A Maple Leafs shirt that has a Rangers logo and wordmark.
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I hear you asking, "Can they fuck up hats?" My friend, they can fuck up hats.

A "Blue Jays" hat with the Cardinals logo.
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We've reached the point where we're getting "heartwarming" stories of players making right what Fanatics fucked up. It's so gross! Not even that Fanatics cares so little about their customers that they won't spend any time or money instituting any sort of quality control—that ship has sailed. What's gross is that the pro leagues, one after the other, are eagerly partnering with Fanatics to make their apparel, and even their game jerseys. The leagues and player unions will tell you they made the deals because Fanatics was the highest bidder, which only means that there's an acceptable level of contempt for fans as long as the checks clear. If you still wonder if your favorite team sees you as anything but a wallet, put on your Draisailt sweater.

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