Nike Pulls T-Shirts: 'Boston Massacre' Apparel for Yankees Fans Removed

Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 10:37 AM

By Megan Anderle

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Avoiding a public relations disaster, Nike has decided to stop selling a baseball-themed T-shirt with the phrase "Boston Massacre" that some might find insensitive given the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a week ago that left a handful dead and countless others injured.

The producer of "Late Show with David Letterman," Eric Stangel, pointed out the shirts on racks at a local Nike outlet store this past weekend. On Sunday, the television executive tweeted a photo of the shirt, targeted at New York Yankees fans' longstanding rivalry with the Boston Red Sox.

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Stangel said he told employees they shouldn't be selling the T-shirts, to which they replied, "'We've been taking them down, but somehow they keep ending up back on the rack.'"


ABC News reported the shirts, which reference the "Boston Massacre" of 1770, were created to commemorate the Yankees' two series sweeps in their games against the Boston Red Sox. The series of games, in 1978 and 2006, respectively, became known as the first and second “Boston massacres" to fans of the rival teams.

A Nike spokeswoman said the company was aware of the issue, and that the shirts were made long before the Boston Marathon bombings, according to a statement obtained by the Huffington Post.

"The shirts being referenced are older baseball shirts that were predominantly being sold through our Factory Stores Outlets," she wrote. "In light of the tragedy in Boston we took immediate action last week to remove this product from distribution. We conducted this process as quickly as possible and are confident the product has been removed from distribution."

Business Insider reported that the tees may become "instant collector's items." On eBay, the shirt is already on sale for $50.

A few months ago, Nike had to pull something else for the sake of sensitivity – an ad of Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, with the tagline "I am the bullet in the chamber." The ad ran before the runner faced murder charges in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. 

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