Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is entitled to believe whatever he wants to believe about the healing powers of Recovery Water. He’s not entitled to share those beliefs with the rest of the world, if his beliefs can’t be corroborated with scientific fact.
As an investor and de facto celebrity endorser in the product, Wilson is bound by the rules of the Federal Trade Commission, which prevent a celebrity endorser from saying things that the manufacturer of the product couldn’t say directly.
“Advertisers are subject to liability for false or unsubstantiated statements made through endorsements,” FTC guidelines promulgated in 2009 state. “Endorsers also may be liable for statements made in the course of their endorsements.”
Few if any are likely taking Wilson’s claims seriously, but plenty of outlandish claims have been made over the years regarding the attributes of a given product — and plenty of people have bought the product assuming the claim to be true.
In Wilson’s case, he admitted in the new Rolling Stone profile that they’re not claiming to have “real medical proof” that Recovery Water cures or prevents concussions. His follow-up tweet, which comes off as borderline defiant in the face of the criticism he has absorbed for his comments in Rolling Stone, contains no such caveat.
Which could mean that Wilson and/or the makers of Recovery Water will soon be hearing from the FTC, especially if any of Recovery Water’s competitors make a complaint to the agency.