NFL fans’ personalized attempts at gridiron glory or grins have their limits.
This week, the list of objectionable phrases that you couldn’t put on the back of a personalized jersey at NFL.com surfaced, and it caused quite a stir.
Among the banned terms: Pimpjuice, Barf, 420, Budweiser, He Hate Me, Dahmer, Carruth and even Dome.
Several internet blogs ran with the list of more than 1,100 banned phrases, and it caused outrage among gay-rights activists when they learned that “gay” was among the banned terms.
And the NFL responded, removing the phrase from the list Thursday, certainly good news to fans of former NFL players Ben Gay and William Gay and current Patriots cornerback Randall Gay.
‘Gay’ should never have been in our filter, spokesman Dan Masonson told the New York Daily News.
“Tongue,” however, remains on the list, which is sure to disappoint fans of the Jets’ Reggie Tongue.
The Daily News reported the controversy began shortly after the Super Bowl, when Louisiana State professor Leigh Clemons tried to purchase a Patriots jersey with “Gay” on the back. Clemons’ former student, Randall Gay, was a rookie cornerback with the Super Bowl champion Patriots.
Clemons told the Daily News she tried to purchase a Gay jersey shortly after the Pats’ 24-21 Super Bowl win over the Eagles, but when she entered the cornerback’s last name, her request was rejected. A message popped up that said,
This field should not contain a naughty word.
I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t take my $80, she said about standard cost of the personalized jersey.
Clemons called NFLShop.com, but a customer rep wouldn’t sell her the jersey. His supervisor wouldn’t budge, either. Another supervisor finally verified that Randall Gay was a member of the Patriots, and employees suspended “gay” from the site’s filter long enough for Clemons to make her purchase – then put the name back on the banned list.
I understand the league has a right to control its officially licensed products, Jim Buzinski, an editor of gay-oriented Outsports.com, told the Daily News.
I applaud the decision to remove ‘gay’ from the list. But it bothers me that the NFL considers ‘lesbian’ a naughty word and that ‘gay’ was once banned, too.
Lesbian remains on the banned list.
Masonson told the Daily News the league is reluctant to offer more than fans’ names or nicknames on personalized jerseys because it doesn’t want to offend or cross the lines of good taste. When the site was created several years ago, a dirty word filter
similar to those used by many E-commerce sites was installed to keep things clean. Other words and phrases were added after NFL fans tried to purchase jerseys with risque names or phrases.
Personalized jerseys account for 20 percent of the NFLShop.com’s $60 million in annual revenues.