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NFL Shop Bans 'Mexico'

(This story was published in 2005).

While the NFL removed “gay” from its list of words that can’t be printed on the back of one of its official jerseys, this week it added “Mexico” to that list.

A number of fans of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick have attempted to order his Falcons No. 7 jersey with “Mexico” on the back because a lawsuit alleging Vick infected a woman with herpes refers to Vick with the alias “Ron Mexico.” All of the jersey requests have been rejected, and anyone looking to order the personalized jersey is now met with: "The personalization entered cannot be accepted."

No player in the NFL has ever had the last name of “Mexico,” so there is no conflict like the one created by the previous ban of “Gay” (Randal Gay is a player for the New England Patriots) or “Tongue” (Reggie Tongue plays for the New York Jets).

However, it’s an odd choice as the NFL continues to try to expand its reach into the Central American country. The NFL has held a number of preseason games in Mexico in recent years. The Arizona Cardinals last month agreed to host one of their home games in Mexico City; they will play the San Francisco 49ers on October 2 on Sunday Night Football.

"The jerseys are intended for fans who want to have their name on a jersey," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Associated Press. "Obviously, this was in direct reference to recent events. We decided it's inappropriate to sell jerseys with that particular name on it."

Unfortunately for all of those new fans in Mexico, no team represents their country, and “Mexico” on the back of a jersey may be an opportunity the NFL will miss.