Topps apologizes for ‘inappropriate gesture’ on card

Jets running back Leon Washington’s Signs of the Future insert card from 2006 Bowman Football pictures what Washington described as a salute to his hometown. But many who have seen the photo believe he is offering a different gesture.

When asked about the photo, Washington said he was paying homage to his hometown neighborhood on the east side of Jacksonville, Fla., by making an “E” with the fingers on both hands. But some of the fingers are obscured in the photo by his jersey, so the extended middle fingers on each hand are what stand out. The posed photo, picturing Washington without his helmet, was taken prior to the season.

Bowman Football went live about two weeks ago. In response to questions about the card, Topps issued the following statement: “It has come to our attention that Leon Washington’s ‘Signs of The Future’ Autograph card in 2006 Bowman Football includes an inappropriate gesture on the card front. In no way does Topps condone this type of behavior to be photographed for its trading cards and is deeply embarrassed that this photograph was not deleted in the early stages of the editing process. We apologize for this oversight.”

The media attention generated by the card has sparked a tremendous amount of interest among some buyers on eBay, where the card has sold for more than $100 in some instances.

Topps is offering collectors the chance to return the card for another randomly selected autographed card. Returns can be sent to The Topps Company, Leon Washington Card Return, P.O. Box 766, Pittston, PA 18640.

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