Navy football drops ‘inappropriate and insensitive’ team motto in wake of shooting

The Navy football team is dropping its motto for the 2019 football season – "Load the Clip" – out of respect for the victims of the shooting at The Capital Gazette newspaper's offices in Annapolis, Maryland last summer.

The Capital Gazette, which had questioned Navy officials about the appropriateness of the motto, first reported Friday that the football team would instead use the phrase "Win the Day."

Vice Admiral Sean Buck, the superintendent of the school, apologized for the previous slogan.

"The bottom line is, we missed the mark here," Buck said in a statement. "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."

Naval Academy spokesperson Alana Garas said in a statement that it's become a tradition for the captains of Navy's football team to choose a motto for a season. Past slogans included "We Will" and "For the Culture."

Center Ford Higgins, quarterback Malcolm Perry and linebackers Paul Carothers and Nizaire Cromartie were elected team captains this year.

According to Garas, the "Load the Clip" slogan was intended to be a metaphor for "consistent, daily work ethic in preparation for game day." Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuck said players and coaches realized the use of the slogan "created sensitivities that were not aligned with the original intent."

"Corrective measures were taken immediately and on behalf of the team at large, our sincerest apologies to anyone who was offended," Gladchuk said in a statement. "It was a lesson learned and it's important that everything we do at the Naval Academy represents not only appropriate action, but assumed responsibility."

Navy's football stadium sits less than two miles from The Capital Gazette's offices, where a gunman opened fire in June 2018, killing five and wounding several others in what authorities described as a "targeted attack." The alleged attacker, Jarrod Ramos, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and is due to stand trial in November.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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