'Harambe' back in business after temporary jersey ban

Fans who want to customize their favorite teams' jerseys with "Harambe" on the back can do so once again as of Thursday, after the name mistakenly appeared on a retailer's list of banned words.

ESPN has learned that an official with a Major League Baseball team contacted Fanatics, concerned that fans were customizing their jerseys with the name of the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo that has become an internet phenomenon. Fanatics runs online retail for the four major North American leagues. Fanatics spokesman Meier Raivich said that a company employee proactively added "Harambe" to a frequently updated list that instantly rejects the word when a fan tries to customize it on the nameplate on the back of a jersey.

"Harambe" was subsequently added to the banned list for the other leagues, including the NFL, which received the majority of the blame on social media Wednesday even though league officials had nothing to do with the decision.

As word began to circulate of the banning, Fanatics officials decided that "Harambe" didn't belong on the list, which includes thousands of words, made up mostly of profane and slang words. On Thursday morning, "Harambe" was removed from the list.

Harambe the gorilla was killed by a zoo worker May 28 after a 3-year-old boy climbed into the habitat and was dragged by the animal. The incident was captured on video and quickly went viral.

The gorilla quickly gained cult status as an internet meme. Last month, a fan ran onto the field at Fenway Park in a Harambe jersey. Last week, New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard wore an "RIP Harambe" shirt to the Cincinnati Zoo, and this week, the UMass Lowell soccer team is having Harambe Night and giving out stuffed gorillas.

Social media support for the gorilla was so strong that the zoo deleted its Twitter account last month.