‘Sissy blue’ could line UCLA football players’ pockets with green thanks to NIL deal

UCLA players prepare to take the field for a game against LSU.
UCLA players prepare to take the field for a game against LSU at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Sissy blue could generate some green for UCLA football players.

David Witzling, the Bruins fan whose pregame exchange with Louisiana State football coach Ed Orgeron may land “sissy blue” in the Urban Dictionary, is raising money for the players by selling T-shirts bearing the now-famous slogan.

Witzling said Tuesday he had bought the internet domain name for a nominal fee and was taking orders for shirts expected to sell for between $20 and $30. The hope is to have the merchandise available before No. 16 UCLA’s next game against Fresno State on Sept. 18.


Witzling said players would receive 100% of the proceeds off the sales via new name, image and likeness rules if they promoted the shirts on any social media platform of their choosing.

“The idea is to have the pot divided between eligible student-athletes,” said Witzling, a Huntington Beach-based attorney and UCLA alumnus. “These NIL deals, they’re kind of few and far between, so if there can be more of them, everyone benefits.”

UCLA vaulted into the national top-25 rankings after defeating No. 16 LSU at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

Sept. 7, 2021

The arrangement appears to satisfy UCLA’s NIL rules involving boosters because it would not solicit the players’ enrollment at the school or continued enrollment; the agreement would be for work performed; and Witzling said he would disclose the arrangement to school officials.

“The whole intent is to do this right way,” Witzling said. “We’re being quick but not hurrying.”

Witzling went from largely anonymous fan to viral sensation Saturday after a chance encounter with Orgeron in which he reminded the coach of his infamous “lock the gates” comment while Orgeron was USC’s interim coach in 2013.

Orgeron had said at the time the Trojans were going to lock the gates at the Coliseum when they faced UCLA that week. But the Bruins won the game and Orgeron didn’t get the permanent job that went to Steve Sarkisian.


Orgeron’s demeanor shifted from pleasant to combative the moment he heard Witzling mention the phrase while walking into the Rose Bowl before his team’s 38-27 loss to the Bruins.

“Bring your ass on, in your sissy blue shirt,” Orgeron shouted.

Monetizing the exchange did not enter Witzling’s mind until he realized the vast interest it had generated and contemplated how it might benefit UCLA players.

“Looking at everybody online, there was comment after comment that they wanted their sissy blue shirt,” Witzling said. “This has gotten significant attention and it can do a lot of good for some great student-athletes.”