Nike Confuses North, South Carolina in Apparel Screw-Up

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Not North Carolina

Nike's attempt to show the Carolina Panthers some love with a home-state T-shirt backfired when the marketer confused North Carolina with its southern counterpart.

Late last week, an astute fan alerted Charlotte Observer sports columnist Scott Fowler to the availability of a geographically challenged T-shirt in Nike's online store. The shirt depicted the Panthers logo with the initials "NC" -- superimposed over a graphic of South Carolina.

Nike removed a direct link to the shirt, which was priced at $32 online. The company did not respond to a request for comment in time for this story.

Panthers fans responded to Nike's error online with emotions ranging from disbelief to outrage.

This isn't the first time that Nike's absentminded take on geography has gotten the brand into trouble. In March 2012, Nike debuted a sneaker called the Black and Tan, a cheeky take on the popular American beer drink that's half Guinness, half pale ale. But the ode to St. Patrick's Day was a flop: in Ireland, Black and Tan refers to a reign of terror in which British troops brutally attacked the Irish in the 1920s. Nike issued an apology days after the shoe error.

At least Nike got the general vicinity correct. The NFL, after all, once had the New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons and, yes, the Carolina Panthers, in the NFC West. And the Dallas Cowboys are still in the NFC East.

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