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Volume 27 No. 5
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Army Nixes Football Team Slogan Due To White Supremacy Link

Army has flown the skull and crossbones flag prior to games for several years
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Army has flown the skull and crossbones flag prior to games for several years
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Army has flown the skull and crossbones flag prior to games for several years
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Army football program "removed a slogan from merchandise and a team flag earlier this year" after military administrators were "told that the phrase originated with white supremacist gangs," according to Dan Murphy of ESPN.com. For the past several years, West Point has "taken the field for each game flying a pair of banners: the American flag and a black skull-and-crossbones flag with four letters inscribed on what would be the upper lip of the skull: GFBD." The acronym is "shorthand for 'God Forgives, Brothers Don't,'" and has been "part of the football program's lexicon" since the mid-'90s. Army officials said that they were "unaware that the phrase links to motorcycle gangs and Aryan Brotherhood sects" until the connection was "brought to their attention in September" of this year. After a two-month investigation, officials said that they "determined that the motto was used without knowing its origin, and therefore its use by the team was 'benign' and had nothing to do 'with the views or beliefs of white supremacist groups or any other disreputable organizations with which they might also be associated.'" Murphy noted the phrase has "appeared on several official social media accounts for the team and its staff, on merchandise and on the flag," which the team also "displayed in its main meeting room" (ESPN.com, 12/5).

NEW THREADS: The MILITARY TIMES' J.D. Simkins notes Army, in partnership with Nike, released its uniform for the Dec. 14 Army-Navy game, a set "designed to honor the historic 1st Cavalry Division and pay homage to the birth of airmobility during the Vietnam War." This year's matte green helmet "features the crossed sabers that adorn the famous Cavalry Stetson, or 'Cav Hat.'" On the chest, a "'FIRST TEAM' name tape adorns each jersey opposite a second 'ARMY' patch." In "another noteworthy nod to the past, the words 'UNITED STATES' form a pant stripe in the exact font that was painted on Huey helicopters during the Vietnam War" (ARMY TIMES, 12/6). Simkins noted Navy, in partnership with Under Armour, is "opting for a vintage look that pays homage to historic Annapolis teams" of the '60s. The design "pays particular respects" to two former Navy football stars -- RB Joe Bellino and QB Roger Staubach -- who won the Heisman Trophy in '60 and '63, respectively. Each helmet shell has been "painted to mimic both the Navy helmet" of the '60s and the "bronze texture of the Heisman Trophy." Two center stripes and three painted dimples on each front panel "recall the actual headgear on the Heisman statue," while the "crown of the shell features" Staubach's No. 12 and Bellino's No. 27 (ARMY TIMES, 12/5).