Navy’s 2019 team motto is being modified.
The team’s players had decided this summer that “load the clip” would be the team’s rallying cry for the upcoming season. However, that motto was changed on Friday after the mass shootings context of the phrase was brought up by Annapolis Capital Gazette. Five people were killed at the Capital Gazette newsroom in June of 2018 when a man came into the building with a gun.
“It is always my priority, part of my mission statement, for the Navy to be a good neighbor," Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Sean S. Buck said in a statement released Friday afternoon.
"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.”
The decision to change the motto Friday came just a day before at least 18 people were killed and numerous others were wounded when a gunman opened fire in an El Paso Walmart.
The team’s new motto will be called “win the day.”
The initial justification
The team’s four captains settled on “load the clip” as a way of saying that the team needed to be consistent on a weekly basis. As a service academy, there are many Navy players who have firearms training and deal with firearms as part of their duties.
“This year we’re going to say ‘Load the Clip.’ That kind of falls under the character trait of consistency because it’s all about the way we load the clip,” said Ford Higgins, a returning starter at center.
“Every day we go to conditioning workouts or weightlifting or meetings and practices. Are we being consistent enough and diligent enough in our work ethic to put another round in the clip?
And while the metaphor for consistency certainly seemed well-intentioned, it’s pretty obvious how it could be insensitive to a community that dealt with its newspaper getting attacked 13 months ago. And especially insensitive on Saturday as people simply getting their errands done were senselessly killed.
Good for Navy for making such a quick change. Mistakes happen. It could have easily stood behind the slogan and gotten defensive. Instead, it made a quick change and acknowledged why. That’s character.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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