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Monday, August 24, 2009

49ers Holdout Michael Crabtree's Jerseys Gather Dust on S.F. Shelves

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge A cold-seller locally. How cold? How about zero Kelvin?
  • A cold-seller locally. How cold? How about zero Kelvin?
On a recent trip to the T.J. Maxx in SOMA -- which is kind of like going to Ross except random lunatics haven't ripped and stained all the merchandise and randomly strewn it about -- I stumbled into an aisle that could only be called "The Jerseys that Time Forgot."

On display -- and, ostensibly, sale -- were Oakland Raiders duds emblazoned with the names and numbers of athletes fans may remember -- or are struggling hard to forget: Warren Sapp, Zack Crockett, and, most nightmarish of all, Daunte Culpepper.

Still, according to the store's staff, these jerseys do sell, especially when they go on sale and cost less than a ballpark beer. Yet the attractive, brand-new, crimson home jersey of the 49ers' No. 1 draft pick, Michael Crabtree, is moving even more slowly. That's right: Duante Culpepper is outselling Michael Crabtree.

None of the store employees I spoke with could recall moving a single jersey of the obstinate receiver, currently engaged in a mutually destructive holdout with the Niners.

"I haven't sold any. I haven't rang up even one since they got here" more than a month ago, said one cashier. "But our stuff does go on sale and that's when people buy stuff. What's really popular here is everything from the Giants. Baseball caps, T-shirts -- those are the ones we be selling fast."

If Crabtree makes good on his kamikaze threat to sit out the entire year and re-enter the NFL draft, his 49ers jersey will attain novel status: A uniform that never was.

Sports columnists have mused about the novelty of marketing jerseys for monumental busts like basketball player Yinka Dare or "He held on too long" uniforms of players who finished glorious careers with forgettable stints on subpar teams (think Franco Harris on Seattle, Joe Namath on the Los Angeles Rams, Steve Carlton on the San Francisco Giants, or Hank Aaron on the Milwaukee Brewers). 

But a uniform for a player who never suited up for his team? That would be different. Unless, of course, your last name is "Crabtree" -- and the White Pages indicate at least nine of you in San Francisco alone. Hey, Crabtree -- and I mean you, too, Michael: What are you waiting for?

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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