NBA Store Wouldn't Allow Custom 'FreeHongKong' Jersey, But Was Willing To Sell 'KillCops' Jersey
By C. Douglas Golden
ublished July 14, 2020 at 2:42pm
Official personalized jerseys are a boon for professional sports leagues, but they tend to be protective when it comes to the name customers can put on the back.
Fifteen years ago, back before he became best known as a vessel of serial animal cruelty, it emerged in a lawsuit that then-Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick had allegedly used the pseudonym Ron Mexico for seeking treatment for conditions of, ahem, an adult nature.
As The Seattle Times reported on April 15, 2005, fans who were looking to get personalized Vick jerseys with Mexico on the back had been turned away from the NFLs online shop.
The jerseys are intended for fans who want to have their name on a jersey, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said at the time. Obviously, this was in direct reference to recent events.
We decided its inappropriate to sell jerseys with that particular name on it.
This was still true as of 2013; ThinkProgress tested it then during the brief resurgence of Ron Mexico jokes in the wake of the revelation that cyber-satyriasist Anthony Weiner had engaged in unseemly acts online under the similarly hilarious pseudonym Carlos Danger.
In fact, during those years, there was only a brief period during which you could order a Ron Mexico jersey, after the NFL switched vendors and some of the prohibited words on customized jersey lists hadnt properly transferred.
The NBA apparently doesnt have that kind of organizational working memory. This sets off klaxons because, as weve previously noted, the league will allow players to select a list of 29 watered-down social justice phrases for players to put on the back of their jerseys when they restart competition later this month for reasons of league-approved self-expression.
None of them, of course, included Free Hong Kong or Down With Winnie the Pooh.
Lets say youre the league executive who deals with merchandising. Youve already seen it hit the fan over the decision to limit players to 29 vague phrases on the back of their jerseys to express their commitment to social justice.
None of these phrases have to do with criticism of the iron fist with which China rules Hong Kong, particularly in the wake of the recent security law which is telling because, before play stopped earlier this year, the leagues noxious capitulation to Beijing over Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Moreys comments in support of Hong Kong protesters was the biggest off-court story of the year.
On top of that, were living in a post-lockdown, post-George Floyd environment. Youre going to be proactive, right?
this Twitter post indicates otherwise.
https://twitter.com/dhookstead/status/1282761063159693312 ? ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E128276106315969 3312%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.westernjournal.com%2Fnba- store-wouldnt-allow-custom-freehongkong-jersey-willing-sell- killcops-jersey%2F
Thats David Hookstead of The Daily Caller, noting murder of law enforcement agents was apparently hunky-dory on Monday, but not so much for showing your support for the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong as the mainland governments foot pushes harder on its neck.
Now the NBA appears to have reversed course on both of these possibly as a result of a lot of bad publicity.
Heres a screen shot of a form captured by The Western Journal at 4:27 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Monday, allowing the name KillCops to be ordered on a customized Los Angeles Lakers jersey on the NBAs store:
Click for Full Text!
I fought the law and the law won.