Curtis Dvorak, who has been costumed for the last 18 seasons as Jaxson De Ville, the mascot for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is in big trouble for making an Ebola joke during Sunday’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mocking the Steelers fans’ “Terrible Towels,” the mascot held up a sign reading “Towels Carry Ebola.”
Pictures of the incident went viral, and the backlash was huge, prompting a statement from Jaguars President Mark Lamping on Monday that read:
Improvisation and humor have both been key elements to the character of Jaxson DeVille, especially when he performs at home games. On Sunday, the person who has played Jaxson DeVille over the past 20 seasons made an extremely poor decision in that regard. The team was unaware of this inappropriate sign, which was hand-made by Jaxson during the fourth quarter of yesterday’s game, until after it had been displayed. We are handling the matter internally and taking it very seriously. We extend our sincerest apologies to anyone who was offended.
Dvorak has been known for zany antics before the latest incident, including standing under the goal posts in a Speedo to distract the opposing team’s kicker, standing with the refs and waving his arms to show a field goal attempt was no good, or catching an overthrown pass in back of the end zone.
Some tweets that responded to the Ebola joke read:
Whoever came up with the Ebola Towel joke in ?#Jacksonville should be fired. On the spot
How classless do you have to be when referencing Ebola and Terrible Towel together? Leave it to Jacksonville and their mascot. ?#Ignorance
On a side note, the ?@Jaguars mascot carrying a sign about Ebola was in extremely poor taste and not even remotely funny.
Meanwhile, one Houston fan was joking about the one confirmed Ebola case in the United States occurring in Dallas:
— Brandon #HailState (@JagsBrandon) October 6, 2014