"Hurry in for our Jadeveon Clowney sub it goes really fast," reads the run-on sentence that Charlie Ruffalo, owner of Sub Station II, has posted on the marquee outside of his Rock Hill sandwich shop. Clowney's legal representation was understandably displeased to learn that the name of the former Gamecock star was being used to push sandwiches, especially considering that sign's attempt at humor comes, I think, at Clowney's expense.
"I've been doing this business for twenty-something years," said Clowney's agent Bus Cook. "I've never known people to arbitrarily and openly take somebody's name and use it for their benefit without getting permission. And that's what this is."
Here's the Sub Station II sign in Rock Hill that pokes fun at Jadeveon Clowney's speeding tickets: pic.twitter.com/OkZ1n4KjFE— Sara Jane Harris (@SaraJaneHarris) January 23, 2014
Context clues suggest that the sign is intended to be a joke about the pair of speeding violations Clowney was recently ticketed for, but the clumsy construction of the joke (which I'm far more offended by than the dig at JD) doesn't exactly make it clear. After all, Jadeveon is a noted freakishly fast person, so it could have just as easily been a Gamecock supporter commenting about his 40 time in advance of the NFL Combine.
But Ruffalo clarifies that it is indeed intended to make fun of Clowney's recent highway mishaps. "It's a play on [Clowney's] two speeding tickets. If we did have such a sub and if it was endorsed by him, it would go really fast as in sales," Ruffalo said. "It's just a play on words."
Hmm, OK. So not only have you made a joke that doesn't quite land (unless your sandwiches really do travel at a high velocity) but you've also knowingly attempted to lure customers into your business under the false pretense that you have a Jadeveon Clowney-themed sub on your menu. Tightening up the sentence and using more precise language might make everything a little more clear.
Here are a few things that might have worked better:
- Hurry in for our Jadeveon Clowney sub while supplies last. (Like Clowney, they go really fast!)
- Stop in for our 1,500 calorie meatball sub and treat your body as recklessly as Jadeveon Clowney drives!
- The next time Jadeveon Clowney is too tired to play, Steve Spurrier should cold cut him.
- You may not know Jay Z like Clowney does, but you can still have a H.A.M. sandwich.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time a purveyor of the sandwich arts has co-opted Clowney's name to sell deli meats. Nor is it the first time that Ruffalo has gotten into trouble for making a borderline nonsensical joke about a celebrity. When The Patriot was being filmed in South Carolina in 1999, he apparently put out a sign that read, "Please do not bother Mel Gibson while he eats here."
Maybe it's time Ruffalo hired someone to handle Sub Station's marketing.