Nike Bans ‘Jesus’ from Personalized Brazil Jerseys—‘Mohammed’ Still Available

Brazilian Nike distributor no longer allows customers to order personalized jerseys with “Jesus,” “Christ,” or other Christian terms.

From Breitbart:

The FIFA World Cup begins on Sunday and is one of the planet’s most prestigious sporting events. It is particularly popular in Brazil, the winningest country in the history of the tournament with five championships.

Fisia, the company serving as Nike’s distributor in the country, reportedly added “Jesus” – a common male name in Latin America – and “Christ” to its list of prohibited personalization terms on Wednesday after the country’s Federal Public Ministry (MPF), its attorney general’s office, intervened out of concern for religious discrimination. Adherents to the Nigerian Lucumí Yoruba faith – known in the Spanish-speaking world as santería but commonly referred to in Brazil as Candomblé – complained to the government that the Nike website did not allow them to personalize World Cup jerseys with the names of their gods.

According to the BBC, prior to the online outrage from the African religious community in the country, names of deities (orixás) such as Xangô or Exu were not available for personalization, but “Jesus” and “Cristo” were. As one user on Twitter noted, on Tuesday, personalizing a shirt with the term “Amen, Jesus” was possible, but doing so with the Yoruba exaltation “Laroyê Exu” was not.


Other religious terms – multiple spellings of Muhammad/Mohammed, “Allah,” and the Hindu god “Ganesh” – were still available at press time, however, potentially leaving Nike still open to accusations of religious discrimination. Mohammed, like Jesus, is a common male name in many parts of the world.


The prohibition of Christian terms from the jerseys prompted outrage from conservative Christian leaders, most prominently the president’s son, lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro, who accused the sporting company of “Christophobia.”