Horns Digest recruiting writer Jason Higdon said Wednesday he will no longer “push” his #Letsride trademarks and also will remove orange- and black-colored T-shirts from his online marketplace.
In a statement posted on Horns Digest, Higdon said the decision to stop using Texas coach Charlie Strong’s social media catchphrase on those shirts was his alone.
“No one from Texas or any other organization has asked me to remove these two shirts or even expressed concern in this matter at all,” Higdon wrote.
The American-Statesman reported on Monday that Higdon acquired two federal trademarks in March 2015 based on Strong’s online catchphrase #Letsride. Former Texas staffer Bob Shipley said a small group first pitched the idea for Strong to use #Letsride in February 2014.
Higdon, who covers UT recruiting and talks extensively to high school athletes, began marketing T-shirts bearing the phrase #Letsride and #Believe, another Strong catchphrase. He also tagged UT athletes’ Twitter handles on social media, presumably so current players would at least see the merchandise.
Initially, Higdon was selling “Texas Orange” shirts. After the Statesman began making inquiries, the website was changed to offer “Dark Orange” shirts.
A UT spokesman said no member of the Texas football staff was aware anyone had trademarked #Letsride or planned on selling merchandise.
Higdon, who lives in Georgia, has not responded to multiple interview requests. On Tuesday, Texas athletic director Mike Perrin said, “What path we choose is based on the circumstances we see.”
Texas officials have vigorously defended anything associated with their brand in the past. For example, UT ordered organizers of the website ShaggyBevo.com to change its name last year. Now the site is called ShaggyTexas.com.
Higdon, who still owns the trademark #Letsride, said he will now focus on high school football and Little League baseball teams.
“Some people will always try to tear me down,” Higdon said on Horns Digest. “There will be individuals who are like sharks in the water, and anytime they smell blood (they) start to Circle.”
“After thinking about this for the last two days and seeing the Uproar that it has caused with some of the members on this board, I’ve decided to take down any shirt that resembles Texas,” he added.
Higdon added that all the attention this issue generated has been “fueled by a different agenda altogether, but I will stay away from those things.”
In his statement, Higdon did not address whether selling #Letsride merchandise presented any potential conflicts of interest. “I hope you all can understand my position on this and I hope we can move forward and get back to what matters which is my ability to cover Texas recruiting,” he said.