Harambe Jerseys: The NFL Had it Right The First Time

Here is something that we do not hear very often: the National Football League had it right the first time. The NFL has a history of thought leadership in areas such as employee discipline, retirement planning, and concussion research. We could have added contributing to the demise of played-out jokes on the internet if the NFL Shop had not reversed its policy to ban ‘HARAMBE’ from personalized jerseys.

On Wednesday, my buddy (see below, nbd) Darren Rovell reported that the league had disallowed fans from buying a personalized jersey with the deceased gorilla’s namesake.


Please excuse my fan-girling. In my defense, I had never been contacted personally by one of the most famous geeks in the world. Moving on…

This information was quickly confirmed by the New Orleans Saints’ official twitter account, thus cueing internet ruckus. Replies ranged from financial geniuses who decided to pay anywhere from $150-$300 on personalized Harambe jerseys bragging that they now owned collectors items, to jabs at 44 million dollar man Roger Goodell, to the oft attention-seeking Minnesota Wild proudly proclaiming that their team store still had the capability to print hockey sweaters adorned with the fallen gorilla’s name. As is the norm when people get riled up on the internet, keyboard warriors jumped to conclusions before gathering enough information to legitimize their claims.

So, now that the dust has settled, I am here to present the facts.

  1. Gorillas cannot play sports. Do you remember the last time you saw a silverback make a diving catch, slam dunk, or throw a touchdown pass? I sure don’t.
  2. This had nothing to do with Roger Goodell, or the NFL. While there are plenty of reasons to dislike him and bitch and moan about the No Fun League, the decision to add ‘HARAMBE’ to the list of forbidden words in jersey personalizing was made by Fanatics (source). Most sports fans have visited their site, home to the company that manages online retail for each major sport in the United States. The policy was enacted after an anonymous baseball executive filed a request with Fanatics, so if you wish to witch-hunt, look elsewhere.
  3. Sadly, the decision was overturned after just a day, enabling sports fans weirdos across the nation to continue their misguided obsession with something that happened way back in May.
  4. Dropping hundreds of dollars on a personalized jersey making fun of a dead animal is preposterous.

Harambe jokes are 2016’s version of ‘yo mama’ and ‘that’s what she said’; while humorous at the onset, I am counting down the days until the fad fades into oblivion. I cannot be the only one who has grown tired of seeing feeble attempts at humor integrating a deceased gorilla’s name almost every time I use the internet.




I'm not a pessimist, I'm an optometrist.

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