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After 24-Hour Ban & Social Media Outrage, ‘Harambe’ Jersey Sales Allowed Again
On Wednesday, NFL fans took to NFL shop to continue to pay tribute to the late Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe with a customized NFL jersey, but found out the NFL had blocked everybody from doing so.
NFLShop now blocks fans wanting to get a HARAMBE nameplate on jerseys.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 14, 2016
After a 24-hour ban and unbelievable social media outrage, the ban was lifted to the relief of everybody.
BREAKING: Harambe can once again be put on back of all jerseys, was listed as a banned word by mistake https://t.co/uviJG1z0Fi
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 15, 2016
New Orleans Saints Twitter account confirmed that it was back up and running again.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 15, 2016
“Fans who want to customize their favorite team’s jersey with “Harambe” on the back can do so once again as of Thursday, after the word mistakenly appeared on a retailer’s list of banned words.
ESPN has learned that an official with a Major League Baseball team, concerned that fans were customizing their jerseys with the name of the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo, contacted Fanatics. Fanatics runs online retail for the four major North American leagues. Fanatics spokesman Meier Raivich said that a Fanatics employee proactively added “Harambe” to a frequently updated list that instantly rejects the word when a fan tries to customize it on the nameplate on the back of a jersey.
“Harambe” was subsequently added to the banned list for the other leagues, including the NFL, which received the majority of the blame on social media Wednesday even though league officials had nothing to do with the decision.
As word began to circulate of the banning, Fanatics officials decided that “Harambe” didn’t belong on the list, which includes thousands of words, made up mostly of profane and slang words. On Thursday morning, “Harambe” was removed from the list.
Harambe the gorilla was killed by a zoo worker May 28 after a 3-year-old boy climbed into the habitat and was dragged by the animal. The incident was captured on video and quickly went viral.
The gorilla quickly gained cult status as an internet meme. Last month, a fan ran onto the field at Fenway Park in a Harambe jersey. Last week, New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard wore an “RIP Harambe” shirt to the Cincinnati Zoo, and this week, the UMass Lowell soccer team is having Harambe Night and giving out stuffed gorillas.
Social media support for the gorilla was so strong that the zoo deleted its Twitter account last month.”