A new era of college athletics has opened up with the approval by the NCAA for its athletes to market their name, image and likeness (NIL) this summer.
Locally, Central Connecticut State University’s athletes have taken advantage of the opportunity. One in particular is Dexter Lawson Jr.
A cornerback for the football team, Lawson Jr. is entering his senior season after posting an all-Northeast Conference second-team caliber season in 2019. With an opportunity to make some money off his abilities as an athlete, Lawson Jr. felt it wasn’t a hard decision to take the opportunity given to him.
“It didn’t take very long for me to make that decision to get products out,” said Lawson Jr. “The organization I grew up on, Supreme Athletes, I came through them and started with them when I was in seventh grade. … Stanley Williams, the CEO of Supreme Athletes, he’s always been a great mentor for me … it wasn’t [a hard decision] I had to make when he came with the offer of possibly working on apparel.”
Supreme Athletes is a mentoring program where Lawson Jr. worked through, developing his athletic talents on top of his social and emotional growth as a young athlete. The list of notable alumni to run through the program is lengthy, with athletes going off to play sports University of Connecticut, University of Alabama, LSU, Pennsylvania State and Syracuse.
Fellow alumni of the program to play for CCSU include Kevaughn Bennett and Jaquan Dufor, both of whom are freshmen on the Blue Devils’ football team.
Supreme Athletes announced Lawson Jr.’s merchandise deal on Instagram Monday with three other players, KK Jones from UConn and Marquis Wilson from Penn State. Images of the merchandise include long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts and crewneck sweatshirts in black, white and gray.
The three all know each other, having come up through the program together, and came to the decision it was time to make some dreams a reality.
“We all came through Supreme together,” said Lawson Jr. “We’re all cordial and know each other, … it was a no brainer for all of us because we know how much of an impact this can have on not only us but the youth coming up. Just to see us turning dreams into reality, being able to have our name on some clothing, and for it to be giving a positive message for our brand.”
Merch can be found at supremeathlete.store with Lawson Jr. and company’s merch being found under “limited edition.” Prices for the merchandise range from $42.45 to $57.90. You can also follow Supreme Athletes on Twitter and Instagram at @supremeathletes (for both social media accounts) for updates.
A portion of the profits will go both to the individual athlete and to Supreme Athletes, which is a non-profit organization. Lawson did not state what the percentage split was, when asked.