Nike sending new jerseys to Shiprock football team

Joshua Kellogg The Daily Times
The Daily Times

SHIPROCK — Representatives of Nike Inc. have informed Shiprock High School officials that the company will donate 50 new football jerseys and possibly football pants to the school's team after many of its uniforms, and some of its equipment and facilities were targeted in a vandalism incident last weekend.

School staff members were contacted by Nike representatives Tuesday night and were told about the donations, head football coach Eric Stovall said. The jerseys are expected to arrive before Friday night's game against Questa.

"This is great for the kids," Stovall said. "It shows that we have great people in the San Juan County community and surrounding areas that want to step up and help."

A Nike spokesman did not respond to questions from The Daily Times by Wednesday.

The uniforms and equipment were damaged during a break-in last weekend in which suspects vandalized the coach's office.

Stovall said the unidentified suspects broke into the office between Friday evening and Sunday morning, throwing red paint throughout the office onto football equipment and stealing electronics.

"It's just unfortunate that people don't recognize or realize the effect this has," Stovall said.

Principal Rick Edwards said the incident is being investigated by the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and security camera footage will be reviewed to help identify the suspects.

"I was just devastated when I found out," Edwards said.

Stovall believes the suspects threw a cement block through a small window and crawled through the opening to gain entrance.

"It was a total mess when we walked in here," Stovall said.

Fourteen football jerseys, one coach's headset, practice jerseys, footballs, an electric football air pump and equipment bags were damaged by the paint.

Two digital video cameras and one coach's headset were stolen from the office.

The damage is estimated at between $5,000 and $10,000, with each headset worth about $3,000 and jerseys about $100 each.

Stovall said the jerseys were purchased at the end of the previous school year, and players were eager to wear the away jerseys for the first time on Sept. 25 at Navajo Preparatory School.

Edwards said Assistant Principal Geraldine Herrod took several jerseys to a dry cleaning business to see if the paint could be removed, but only the large stains could be eliminated.

During a tour of the office Wednesday, red paint splatter could still be found on the floor, walls, Stovall's desk and furniture around the office.

The four one-gallon cans of red paint that were used in the incident were stored in the coach's office to repaint the Chieftain Stadium press box.

Both Edwards and Stovall said the players were in good spirits despite the break-in and have been focused on practicing for Friday's game.

"Our kids don't get a lot of things. We really worked hard getting these things, and they don't get to wear them," Edwards said.

The school is receiving other help, as well.

Piedra Vista football coach Jared Howell said his team is lending Shiprock a coach's headset after asking Stovall how his team could help.

"If people need help, you help them," Howell said. "We are a football community, and we want our area guys to do well."

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.