John Clayton in a Slayer shirt, and a tribute CLAYTON shirt from Homage.

Hall of Fame NFL writer and reporter John Clayton passed away in March at 67. Now, one of his most famous TV moments is being honored with a shirt. Columbus, Ohio-based apparel company HOMAGE announced Friday that they’ve teamed with Clayton’s family and friends for a new shirt, with that initiative also involving a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a charity Clayton cared deeply about. The shirt features “In memory of John Clayton,” with “CLAYTON” written in the famed font used by metal band Slayer:

For those unaware of the reference, Clayton (who worked for ESPN from 1995-2017) famously appeared in a 2012 “This Is SportsCenter” ad that had him with a secret ponytail, rocking out to Slayer after ending a remote hit:

In 2014, Clayton spoke to Kari Plog of the Tacoma, WA-based The News Tribune about how that commercial came together:

Some highlights, transcribed by Jordan Greer of The Sporting News:

In an interview with The News Tribune, Clayton explained that ESPN reached out to him in May 2012 and asked if he would be interested in working on the commercial. He liked the script, and there was optimism within the ad agency that the commercial could be a huge success.

“What they did is, right before the commercial was supposed to air, they leaked it out,” Clayton said. “And once they leaked it out, I think in the first couple days it had two million hits. Then, I think it [went up] to about three million or something of that nature. It did go viral, and it was amazing.”

When asked if he actually was a Slayer fan, Clayton responded, “Of course. Who isn’t?” He had the opportunity to meet the members of the group and spend time with them after the ad went viral.

“They’re great people, great musicians,” Clayton said. “It’s a great group.”

This shirt is a terrific tribute. And it’s cool to see HOMAGE doing that in partnership with Clayton’s family and friends, and making a donation to a cause he cared about as well.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.