That "Free Brady" T-shirt Gov. Charlie Baker wore at the Ice Bucket Challenge on Monday was a knock-off, and he’s sorry about it.
When Baker showed up at an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on the State House steps Monday wearing a “Free Brady” T-shirt, he got some laughs, made a splash in headlines and showed solidarity with the embattled Pats quarterback.
Baker told reporters someone sent it to him – he didn’t say who - and he checked in with the family of Pete Frates, a Challenge originator, to see if they would support him donning it during the event. “They said, ‘Go for it,’” Baker said.
It was all in good fun.
Except: The shirt was a fake.
So said Barstool Sports’ founder David Portnoy shortly after shots of Baker soaking himself in the bootleg T hit the web.
The Barstool shirts are navy blue. Baker’s was red.
In an interview Tuesday, Portnoy told Metro he dreamed up the idea for the shirt, and started selling them online “within 30 seconds of the suspension” and about two weeks before anyone else.
It’s not the first time someone has sold knockoff shirts based on Barstool’s ideas, Portnoy said, and he acknowledged his site can’t actually make a legal claim on a likeness of a pro football star. But in the world of funny Boston T-shirts, he said, there is an unwritten rule about ripping off ideas.
“To be honest, everybody has ‘Free Brady’ stuff. I just wish they were creative enough not to come up with exactly the same one we had already made popular,” Portnoy said. “That particular shirt doesn’t exist without my brain.”
The outspoken founder of the massively popular sports-and-boobs site kept hammering the governor – and, as a joke, the Frates family (Portnoy said he and the Ice Bucket Challenge boosters are friends) – on Twitter.
And then, the unexpected happened. Baker apologized.
Portnoy had this to say on his site this morning:
Phew! I’m glad we can put that sordid little ordeal behind us. Listen theGovernor made a mistake. He apologized to me for it and said it won’t happen again. That’s all you can ask for as a man. Sure I had to bully him a little bit, but it was tough love. People make mistakes. It’s water under the bridge. Don’t worry Charlie you still have my support. The power players in this state need to stick together. The Krafts, Belichicks, Bakers, Bradys, Kennedys and Portnoys. Let’s move past it and rebuild. Free Brady shirts for everybody!
PS – The Frates are not off the hook. They should know better.
So is Portnoy planning on sending the Baker Administration some free Ts? Nope, he told Metro.
“They still gotta buy it,” said El Presidente. “I’m not gonna send any freebies.”
Baker's office had not yet returned a request for comment on short notice.