Charlotte, N.C., where the Carolina Panthers play, is quite close to South Carolina. Carowinds amusement park, which is located in Charlotte and uses a Charlotte address, actually stretches into South Carolina and even contains a marker on the NC/SC border so you can walk across state lines. But almost in South Carolina still means it’s actually in North Carolina, and that’s where the Panthers play. So when an astute online shopper noticed this t-shirt for sale on Nike’s website:
…some confusion, and pointing and laughing at Nike, followed… as did, possibly, some Panther fan raging. The possibility of that last thing was strong enough that CBS’ Will Brinson, a North Carolinian himself, was moved to write this:
It’s not some slap in the face to Panthers fans or North Carolinians. Please don’t assume that… [it’s] an embarrassing flub that’s probably ruffled more than a feather or two in Charlotte but not something worth bringing out the pitchforks over.
Which begs the question: was anyone going to bring out the pitchforks and torches? If so: calm down, people. Sure, the two states are natural rivals given the shared border and the names, and I can’t profess to be too familiar with the dynamic between the states since my only personal connection to the area consists of having relatives in Charlotte (who are originally from New Jersey), but this strikes me as a thoroughly enjoyable – and innocent – mixup. It happens. Whoever was responsible for letting it happen will probably get a stern talking-to, but the idea that it might make anyone feel actual anger is a little strange to me. I mean, it could have been so much worse. Imagine if Nike had made a horrible mixing-up-which-state-a-team-plays-in screwup like this:
Wait a second…