Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was released from prison on Monday after nearly 20 years in jail. And while Carruth has served his sentence, the NFL doesn’t want anyone wearing his name on the back of a jersey.
TMZ reported that the NFL has blocked fans from buying jerseys with Carruth’s name on the back. When you go to the official NFL online shop and try to personalize a Panthers jersey with Carruth’s name and number (89) on the back, you get an error message that says “We are unable to customize this item with the text you have entered. Please try a different entry.” According to TMZ, Carruth joins Aaron Hernandez and O.J. Simpson on NFL’s blocked names list.
Carruth, now 44, and three accomplices were convicted in 2001 of conspiring to murder the mother of his unborn child. In 1999, Cherica Adams was shot four times while following Carruth to a movie date. She was able to dial 911 and implicate Carruth, which helped convict him. Adams was eight months pregnant at the time, and their son, Chancellor Lee Adams, was born via C-section before she died. Chancellor was born with cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation from his mother’s wounds.
The NFL’s Carruth name block goes beyond just Panthers jerseys. It appears that the NFL has blocked Carruth’s name from appearing on any jersey, regardless of team or number. The shop wouldn’t allow “Carruth” and “48” on a Vikings jersey, or “Carruth” and “36” on a Patriots jersey.
Most likely this is due to Carruth being such a unique last name. Both Simpson and Hernandez are much more common names, so blocking Simpson and any number means that an NFL fan named Herbert Simpson wouldn’t be able to get a personalized jersey. But if Carruth is on the back of a jersey, there’s only one guy that jersey is for.
TMZ reported that the NFL blocked Carruth’s name on the site after a few fans tried to buy jerseys with his name on it, but it’s not clear if his name was blocked prior to his release from prison. Regardless of whether he was in jail or out, Carruth was still convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend. The only difference between last week and now is that Carruth has been released from prison and he’s on people’s minds.
So if you happen see someone at an NFL game wearing a Carruth jersey, at least you know that it’s vintage and not brand new. But … maybe walk in another direction anyway.