Home Box Office, a network long synonymous with professional boxing, is demanding champion Sergey Kovalev remove the logo of an ammunition company, one of his sponsors, from his trunks before his upcoming title bout on Saturday, according to this story from guns.com.
Kovalev, the reigning unified WBA, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight champ, has been asked to ditch the Tulammo logo, which is displayed on the seat of his shorts.
“TV networks are certainly free to decide what they broadcast, but they typical daily HBO fare of murder, mayhem, and the glorified misuse of firearms suggest a certain degree of hypocrisy in HBO’s reported decision to ban the simple logo of a company that manufactures ammunition,” wrote Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
“It’s strange that a media company such as HBO has decided to infringe on the First Amendment rights of the boxer and Tulammo by censoring what can be printed on a pair of trunks,” he continued. “The network is known for sometimes-violent programming, such as “True Detective,” “The Wire,” and “The Sopranos” (which, coincidentally, featured a handgun in its logo.) Would HBO have the same inclination to censor any of their show writers or their famous talking head Bill Maher. Would they dare censor their content for political reasons?”
Kovalev, who fights Nadjib Mohammedi Saturday night, hasn’t made a public response.
Tulammo is based in Round Rock, Texas. Kovalev appeared at the company’s SHOT Show booth in January 2015.
UPDATE 7/27/15: Kovalev wore his trunks with the Tulammo logo in place for Saturday’s fight, which he won by KO in the third.