Millions of television and social media viewers saw Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers donning a black hoodie with the words “Butte Strong” emblazoned across the front, before and after his game with the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night.
But if you were hoping to snag one for yourself, you’re out of luck.
Rodgers’ hoodie was made by a small apparel company called Upper Park Clothing in Chico, Rogers’ hometown, and it quickly sold out.
The company made the sweatshirt to raise money for victims of the deadly Camp Fire and priced it at $50, with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to North Valley Community Foundation’s Northern California Fire Relief Fund.
“The Camp Fire has absolutely demolished our area and will forever change the lives of many. The fire has taken lives, homes and businesses, but it will never be able to take away the strength of our community,” Upper Park Clothing said on its website. “It is clear that we will come out of this disaster stronger than ever. We are #ButteStrong.”
David Selkirk, Upper Park Clothing co-owner, said the company sold 550 hoodies and raised $15,000 in just under 24 hours. However, it’s unlikely there is any link between the company’s sales and Rodgers’ TV appearance, as the hoodie sold out several days before the NFL quarterback was seen wearing it.
“We were super stoked, for sure,” Selkirk said when he found out images of Rodgers in the hoodie were circulating on social media. But Selkirk also admitted there was an “Oh, geez” moment when he realized the publicity could possibly spark a wave of orders the company might not be able to meet.
Upper Park Clothing is now selling a T-shirt with the words “Butte Strong” for $25 on its website, with all proceeds going to Camp Fire victims. A little more than 200 are left for people to purchase. Selkirk said the company is also planning to launch a second T-shirt depicting the iconic Gold Rush-era Honey Run Covered Bridge that was destroyed by the blaze.
This isn’t the first time Rodgers has showed solidarity with those affected by the wildfires ripping through California. In a press conference Nov. 11, Rodgers donned a Santa Monica Fire Department hat he said had been given to him when he met with firefighters during the off-season.
“As I was thinking of my house today, this was the only kind of paraphernalia that I had that could represent my support for those folks who are fighting the fires,” said Rodgers, who now lives in Southern California, where the Woolsey Fire has ripped through almost 100,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Rodgers also said his childhood home of Butte County was on his mind as well.
“The devastation there is tough. You know, hearing the stories of people running down the highways to avoid the fire, knowing that people burned alive in their cars, I mean it’s heartbreaking for sure,” Rodgers said. “Obviously my heart goes out to the great people of Paradise, California. I’ve grown up in Chico, I’ve spent a great deal of time up there, I played a lot of football and basketball and sports up in Paradise.”
The Camp Fire is the most deadly and destructive fire in California history and has burned through almost 150,000 acres in the county since it ignited a little more than a week ago.