Iran bans goalie for infractions including 'SpongeBob' pants

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) A semi-official news agency in Iran is reporting that the country's football federation has suspended a goalkeeper for six months for a series of offenses, including wearing yellow pants reminiscent of ''SpongeBob SquarePants.''

The ISNA news agency reported Wednesday that Sosha Makani, formerly a goalie for Persepolis Football Club, can appeal his suspension.

An image of Makani smiling and wearing the dotted yellow pants that showed his ankles circulated online last month. Those pants were apparently too close to looking like ''SpongeBob SquarePants,'' a yellow sponge character on a popular children's animated television show.

Athletes and celebrities in Iran have been targeted by hard-liners in the judiciary and elsewhere for what they wear and how they behave. Iranian hard-liners view much of Western culture as corrupt and un-Islamic.

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