'Tone Your Butt' Shoes Cost Reebok $25 Million Today

Plus: There's suddenly reason for optimism in the NBA lockout talks

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Today in sports: Reebok is making amends for silly fitness claims, the owners of the New York Mets find out how much they're on the hook for investing with Bernie Madoff, and there's new optimism in the NBA lockout talks.

  • In 2009, Reebok launched an ad campaign claiming their toning shoes were the "better way to a better butt," and had been "proven" to "tone your butt up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers." Like most claims involving shoes, vibrating belts, and creams from Korea that are supposed to be able to miraculously reshape parts of the body, these "proven" claims were not proven at all, which is why the company has reached a deal with the Federal Trade Commission to pay $25 million in refunds to customers who bought the haunch-sculpting miracle kicks. As part of the FTC settlement--which still has to be approved in court--Reebok is also banned from "making claims that toning shoes and other toning apparel are effective in strengthening muscles" in future marketing campaigns. According to Ad Age, the company invested "$23 million, or more than 80% of its total measured-media budget on advertising EasyTone in 2009" plus another $31 million in 2010 and $10 million in the first half of 2011. So really, the company has spent $81 million in less than three years marketing a product that it is now prohibited from describing as "asstounding."  [The Washington Post
  • Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa says the Washington Redskins defensive line confused him Monday night, and that's why he botched four shotgun snaps and nearly cost his team the win. Or at least that's what Dallas Cowboys quarterback says he said. "Costa said the D-line kept calling out the snap count. We'll get that worked out," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "We'll tell the league and see if that's something that can be fixed because you're not supposed to be able to do that. So we'll see. But we can't have that happen. We shouldn't have been in that situation." Technically Romo's right. Mimicking the snap count is grounds for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. But it's rarely called and almost impossible to catch on the field. So even if the defense really was trying to trick Costa into snapping the ball before Romo was ready, griping in public just makes the Cowboys look like the little kid who gets all worked up about someone who won't stop making faces at him. It should also be noted that during the game, it sure looked like Romo thought his center was the one at fault. [ESPN]
  • A U.S. District Court judge limited how much money Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee for victims of Bernie Madoff, can seek from New York Mets owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon, who Picard claims ignored signs of fraud and were "willfully blind" to how they made more than $295 million investing in Madoff's fund. Picard had been seeking $1 billion, but it the ruling limited the scope of Picard's so-called "clawback lawsuit"  to profits generated in the two years prior he fund's collapse, which caps the amount of money he can seek at $386 million. That's still a hefty sum, but Bloomberg notes that for smaller Madoff investors--ones who don't have to say, pay Jason Bay $32 million over the next two years, the ruling is good news, since it caps their exposure in any lawsuit brought by liquidators at two years. Picard wanted to be able to go after 25 years worth of profits, plus the principal investment. [The Wall Street Journal]
  • Negotiations to end the NBA lockout were put on hold "so that representatives from each side would have time to observe the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah," reports NBA.com. Talks will resume Friday and go through the weekend, and there's optimism that the union and owners are approaching a breakthrough. Last night Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowksi reported owners were "backing off" demands for a "hard" salary cap in favor of new "ultra punitive" financial penalties for teams that exceed the salary cap. Currently, clubs that go over the salary cap pay a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax. The new proposal would increase that ratio to $3-to-$1. The hard cap, along with a new split of "BRI" (basketball-related income) between ownership and players is cited by USA Today as the major issue blocking a deal. [Yahoo!]
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