Matt Brewster is the owner and head coach at my gym, CrossFit CityPlace. But henceforth he shall be known as David, as in David vs Goliath.
You see, Nike – the ubiquitous billionaire brat of athletic gear – is threatening to sue Matt if he doesn’t withdraw his trademark application for the CFCP logo. Apparently, Nike believes the CFCP logo of Matt doing a one-armed handstand on a kettle bell looks like Michael Jordan dunking a basketball, the company’s famous, trademarked Jump Man logo.
Nike says it is willing to work with Matt to “transition to another mark” but will “take what reasonable legal actions necessary to protect its valuable trademark,” translated to mean “we will sue your ass if you don’t stop turning Michael Jordan upside down and putting him on your tee-shirts and using upside-down Michael Jordan as a target for your wall-ball shots.”
I’m not making this up.
If anyone should be suing anybody it’s the guy who did the first one-armed handstand. Too bad that guy – or gal – didn’t trademark the one-armed handstand. He – or she – could sue Nike, claiming Michael Jordan ripped off the one-armed handstand logo by jumping up in the air with a basketball.
Let me tell you how this all started.
One day Matt, a 20-something-year-old athlete and very hardworking small business owner, did a one-armed handstand on a kettle bell at the gym. Somebody shot a photo and taped it to the wall. We thought it was cool and so we tried to do the one-armed handstand ourselves. It became a kind of right of passage at CFCP.
Matt decided the picture of him doing the one-armed handstand on a kettle bell should be our logo and members started doing it all over the place – Times Square, Key West, Bahamas. We called it “Livin’ the Logo” and Matt started posting our photos on the CFCP Facebook page. I even have a page on this blog of photos of friends and strangers “Livin’ the Logo” at CFCP and all over the world.
For CrossFitters, the one-armed handstand is like a little party trick. It says “I do CrossFit. I’m a bubble off plumb. But I’m a bad ass.” Just Google “one-armed handstand and CrossFit” and you will see what I’m talking about.
The one-armed handstand is also a movement that teaches balance, how to find your center of gravity and builds strength. Handstands of all sorts are a part of CrossFit: Handstand push-ups; wall walks; handstand shoulder touches; handstand walks; handstand holds; nose-to wall handstands and ONE ARMED HANDSTANDS!
The first discussion about one-armed handstands appeared on the CrossFit discussion board back in 2006. Matt and all of us at CrossFit Cityplace know that we didn’t invent the one-armed handstand. We just decided to use it as our logo. Never once, in all the one-armed handstands that I have done or photographed have I ever thought or heard anyone say, “Hey, that looks like Jump Man upside down.” Consumers are not going to confuse the CFCP logo with Nike’s Jump Man.
If you ask me, I think Nike is a wee bit pissed off that they didn’t jump on the CrossFit bandwagon when they had the chance. Reebok had the smarts to do that. Nike just pissed away any chance of getting another dollar of mine with this ridiculous threat against Matt and CrossFit Cityplace.
Like a lot of CrossFit gym owners, Matt is a hardworking small-business owner with a passion for CrossFit and helping others get fit. I’ve been with him since the start. Like a lot of you owners, he went waaaaay out on a financial limb to fulfill a dream. I’ve watched him mop floors and cheer on a middle-aged, overweight woman do her first pull-up and enjoy the sense of accomplishment as much as she did.
It’s what the owners of CrossFit gyms and their athletes do. We are family. We stick together. We encourage each other on. That logo is our family’s coat of arms. Nike, you’re not going to get it without one helluva fight or a shitload of cash. Game on.
If you want to support us in our cause, please tweet your photo of a one-armed handstand to @Nike with the hashtag #wontbackdown or visit the Jordan page on Facebook and simply type “Hey Nike, we #wontbackdown” in the comment box for any and all posts on the page. Just to let them know we’re watching…and fighting.