The Jewishish story behind a Mizzou football star’s potato chip deal

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Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

Have you heard of “Touchdown Luther?” If not, it’s possible you are not a fan of the Missouri Tigers. But even if you are not a fan you probably know someone who is and this morning that person is very happy. The reason is because of a Tweet sent out by Luther Burden III, the Tiger’s 5-star freshman wide receiver.

Burden has been one of the bright spots of a ho-hum season for the Tigers and was rumored to be considering leaving Mizzou via the NCAA transfer portal this offseason. But his return means the Tigers now have a No. 1 wide receiver talent locked up.

This story isn’t about Burden on the field but rather the chip on his shoulder. Yes, the literal chip on his shoulder in that photo has a fun Jewish connection.

The backstory

In 2020, Ken Dubinsky, a 1986 graduate of Mizzou and longtime member of United Hebrew, started his own consulting business, Haystack Sourcing Solutions which works with companies in developing various snack products.

“A friend of mine, Demetrious Johnson was handling the NIL licensing for Luther, and came up with the idea to do a chip with Luther,” said Dubinsky. “He knew my background in developing products over the past 22 years, so he called me and we put it together.”

The term NIL stands for “Name, Image and Likeness” and refers to college athletes’ ability to profit from themselves. It gives players the right to market themselves like celebrities, professional athletes or ordinary citizens, which previously to June of 2021, the NCAA didn’t allow.

“Through this rule, we can feature Luther on a bag of chips and compensate him for that,” said Dubinsky.

Red Hot Riplets and Luther Burden

In an interview with the Columbian Missourian, Johnson, a former Missouri and NFL safety said, “One thing about the African- American community, we like a lot of hot, spicy stuff. Old Vienna Red Hot Riplets has been around so long, and then when you say, ‘Red Hot Riplets’ in the inner city, throughout the metro, Metro East area, everyone knows what Red Hot Riplets is, what they stand for.”

Added Dubinsky: “Luther has always loved Red Hot Riplets so we thought the idea of putting him out there in connection to the chips was a great fit. I was working with Old Vienna, the maker of the Red Hot Riplets on another project, so Demetrious and I presented the idea to partner with them on the project with Luther.”

The company loved the idea and decided to do a “special edition” flavor for Luther with a unique spin on its Red Hot Riplets flavor.

The result was a new Honey BBQ Red Hot Riplets.

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“Response to the flavor and packaging has been outstanding.  We immediately got a program with Schnucks markets, to go into all of their area stores right away,” said Dubinsky.

Burden’s future

Fan reaction to Burden’s tweet was immediate and many fans have shared their support for Burden “playing with a chip on his shoulder” as well as their love of his chips.