Pat McAfee Marvin Harrison Jr. Screengrab: The Pat McAfee Show

If you’re an Arizona Cardinals fan who wants to buy a Marvin Harrison Jr. jersey, you’re out of luck—for now. Harrison’s NFLPA licensing deal remained unsigned shortly before his draft selection, and it still remains unsigned. But thanks to Pat McAfee, we now have a better idea why.

“This is not about the NFLPA,” McAfee said. “Marvin Harrison Jr. will be a part of the NFLPA when the time comes. What I have been told is this is not an NFLPA thing. What this all revolves around is a deal that is allegedly being pitched to sophomores in college who have a name by a company named Fanatics.

“Obviously, Fanatics is involved in everything, everywhere…Fanatics does the jerseys for basically every league. They do the hats for every league. They also do cards and collectibles and things like that.

“I guess there was an offer made to Marvin Harrison Jr., whenever he was a sophomore in college, which has happened to a lot of guys. Whereas if you sign it for a card deal — an autograph deal — it’s for four years, so it goes all the way into your second year in the NFL. Marvin Harrison, who doesn’t need the money, said, ‘We’re not taking that deal. We’re not signing that deal.’ So allegedly what’s been happing behind the scenes is a potential tiff or beef between Fanatics and the Marvin Harrison camp.”

McAfee said Harrison’s representatives believe the value of his name and likeness has significantly increased since his sophomore year in college. The argument here is that the standard licensing deal doesn’t reflect his current worth as a drafted NFL player.

“The holdup with the NFLPA deal is actually a holdup with the Fanatics operation that’s taking place and that is kind of being misrepresented seemingly in some of the conversations happening around him,” McAfee continued. “So, what we have been told is, the price of Marvin Harrison Jr. as a rookie and second year in the NFL is not the same as a sophomore in college. And there’s a lot of people that signed that deal. This will hopefully get worked out.”

While the former Indianapolis Colts punter expressed hope for a resolution, he also downplayed the issue’s significance. At the same time, McAfee acknowledged that other student-athletes who signed similar four-year deals at a lower value might now have some remorse.

“That takes us back to the NIL thing, where we need people regulating, monitoring the contracts that are being signed, where these guys are getting actual contracts for their actual value,” he said. “And anytime you hear somebody say, ‘There needs to be guardrails on this,’ the first reaction from agents and players and family is, ‘Oh, you don’t want these guys to make any money. You want the football and the school to make all this money.’

“No, I don’t want these guys to sign terrible deals when they’re locked into a four-year deal when their worth may be six (times) that, as opposed to when they initially signed the deal.

“I think this is a great depiction of what’s going on in NIL right now; what could happen. And, hopefully, it’ll be a great example of something we can all learn from. Now, to clarify that, I hope they get a deal done…but just because everybody else is signing their rights away doesn’t mean Marvin Harrison Jr. is gonna do that. And I think this is a good message for future college athletes: you don’t have to do it either.

“So, whenever they offer a little upfront bit of money for you to sign a deal, you don’t necessarily have to take that money even though it looks good. There’s gonna be more money later if you have enough confidence in yourself to make it. This is what kind of college football, NIL, is kind of at a tipping point. And Marvin Harrison Jr. is probably going to be the face of hopefully some change for the future.”

[Pat McAfee on X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.