The NFL has banned the sale of jerseys bearing Rae Carruth's name and number, TMZ reported Monday, the day the former Panthers wide receiver was released from prison.
Carruth served almost 19 years in a North Carolina prison after being convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and two other charges in connection with the 1999 shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Cherica Adams.
Who would want to buy a jersey bearing Carruth's name? Perhaps the same type of people who befriend serial killers and other high-profile criminals in prison. Or maybe teens or young adults who think it would be a great gag to post on social media. Whatever the case, the NFL is taking no chances. Visit the NFL's official online store, NFLShop.com, and attempt to personalize a Panthers jersey with Carruth's name and number (89) and the following message displays: “We are unable to customize this item with the text you have entered. Please try a different entry."
According to TMZ, only two other former NFL players are on the NFLShop.com banned list: O.J. Simpson and Aaron Hernandez.
The Panthers' first-round pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, Carruth made the NFL All-Rookie team, but missed most of his second season due to injury. He recorded 63 catches for 804 yards and four touchdowns in 22 career games.
Adams' murder made national headlines, which intensified after Carruth, who had been released on a $3 million bond, violated terms of his release and fled North Carolina. He was captured in the trunk of a car in a hotel parking lot in Tennessee.
In addition to conspiracy to commit murder, Carruth was found guilty of using an instrument with intent to destroy an unborn child and discharging a firearm into occupied property. The jury found him not guilty of first-degree murder, sparing him the possibility of the death penalty.