Jack Ingram

Recently the NFL changed its policy for ordering customized jerseys. A man named Barry Gay ordered a customized jersey from the NFL Web site, requesting that his last name – Gay – be printed on the back of the jersey. The NFL promptly informed Mr. Gay that his request to have his last name printed was not allowed because the word “gay” is one of 1,159 “naughty” words the NFL does not want its products to be associated with (the words “Hitler,” “Nazi,” “Terrorist,” and “Bin Laden” or “Binladen,” whichever spelling you prefer, are completely acceptable however). The word “lesbian” is also too “naughty” for the NFL.

The NFL’s policy is confusing. In a statement, the NFL claimed its reason for the naughty words list is to prevent the association of the NFL’s licensed product(s) with “political, social or other types of statements,” and that the “idea behind personalized jerseys is for a fan to put his or her name on the back or possibly a nickname.”

So let me get this “straight”: It’s okay to be a “Nazi” but not “Gay”? A “Terrorist” but not a “Lesbian”?

All things considered, I can understand the NFL’s error. After all, we do live in a hypersensitive homophobic society. Any weak-minded spineless nazi-loving bigot might make that mistake. It is the NFL’s logic (or lack thereof) that I find so queer. The NFL stated that the purpose of personalized jerseys is to allow actual names. It is amazing that the word “gay” was considered “naughty” despite the fact that there is an actual “gay” NFL player – Randall Gay, of the New England Patriots.

It is sad that even professional sports associations have fallen victim to the social diseases of stereotypes and ignorance of minority groups. The NFL’s misuse and misunderstanding of the word gay is appalling, and it only flaunts its collective ignorance. As for all the people who use the word gay as a derogatory term (i.e. that is so gay, etc) do not worry; when you do it, it only makes you sound “smart.”

Comments or questions? Maybe you just have something to say. Get on the soapbox and talk back with Jack, at Jingramster@gmail.com.

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