Navy Football nixes ‘insensitive, inappropriate’ team logo after shootings, offers apologies

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It may not be as newsworthy that the Navy football dropped a “Load the Clip” motto the team was planning to use for the 2019 season as it is that the motto was chosen to begin with.

“Load the clip?” Who on Earth signed off on that in a town that just experienced a mass shooting a little over a year ago?

Nonetheless, when confronted with questions about the logo’s appropriateness, the team captains wasted no time taking action.

And all of this occurred before a pair of mass shootings over the weekend that claimed 20 lives in El Paso, Texas, and 9 more in Dayton, Ohio, plus the life of the gunman.

The Capital Gazette reported on the motto, this being the paper located a few miles from where the team plays its home games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Gazette saw five of its employees killed by a gunman on June 28, 2018.

Chosen by the team captains, the slogan was intended as a metaphor for daily game day preparation, but was called “inappropriate and insensitive to the community” by the academy’s superintendent, who issued an apology to the newspaper and to the community at large.

“It is always my priority, part of my mission statement, for the Navy to be a good neighbor,” Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Sean Buck said in a Friday release. “The bottom line is, we missed the mark here. The initial internal football team motto selected, ‘Load the Clip,’ was inappropriate and insensitive to the community we call home, and for that, I take responsibility for, and apologize to not only the Capital Gazette, but the entire Annapolis community.”

Jarrod Ramos, who had a history of conflict with the Gazette, stormed the paper’s office in Annapolis last year. Armed with a shotgun, he killed five staff members and injured two others before being taken into custody.

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo had previously said he was “leery” of the slogan.

“It means you have to be prepared for the fight and that is a process that happens every day,” he said.

The coach told the Gazette that the team captains took “about one minute” to change the motto — which is now “Win the Day.”

“It was a one-minute meeting. I explained that some people had deemed the motto to be insensitive. Our captains didn’t need to hear another word. They immediately said ‘Coach, let’s just change it,’” Niumatalolo said Saturday.

The meeting took place just hours before the shooting at an El Paso Walmart.

The head coach also apologized on behalf of the team.

“We sincerely apologize if it upset anyone, but it was not meant to be taken the way it may have been by some, Niumatalolo said. “We understand that it probably wasn’t appropriate considering the current climate and certain things that are happening in our society.”

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Tom Tillison

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