Under Armour's Basketball Shirt Greatly Offends War Heroes

Under Armour is under fire for an inappropriate shirt belittling U.S. war heroes. The clothing company's Facebook page began receiving complaints about the "Band of Ballers" shirt on Friday, and by Saturday had apologized and announced that they would no longer be selling it.

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The shirt mimicked the famous U.S. Marine Corp War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. Instead of a band of soldiers lifting an American flag, however, it was a silhouette of basketball players lifting up a hoop on a pole.

The shirt angered vets and others by making light of war. 26,000 Americans gave their lives in 1945 to the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the memorial dedicated to their memory deserves to be respected.

I am all for the First Amendment and freedom of speech and expression, but can't we also use some common sense? Like just because you have the right to call someone a dummy doesn't mean you should (a concept I'm working on with my kids right now, but that's a topic for another day).

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Under Armour basically reduced war heroes to kids raising up a basketball hoop. There are just some things that should remain sacred, and not reduced to a marketing campaign.

One Facebook user wrote, "Your marketing and design team made a mistake and used very poor judgement [sic] ... Man-up and remove the 'Band of Ballers' scene from your merchandise." Another shared, "This is a memorial. With the names of the fallen. Not some group of 'ballers' putting up a basketball hoop."

Under Armour listened. In a statement, the company said, "Under Armour has the utmost respect and admiration for the men and women on active duty and veterans who have served our country. As such, we deeply regret and apologize that a t-shirt that was not reflective of our values in honoring and supporting our country's heroes went on sale. We have taken immediate action to remove it from retail and will take great measures to ensure this does not happen again. Supporting those who serve our country has been part of our brand's DNA since the very beginning, and through our partnerships and by working directly with military organizations, it will always serve as the foundation of our efforts to give back."

It's true ... Under Armour has been a big supporter of the military, which makes this misstep one that is hopefully easy to forgive. The company has donated more than $3 million to the Wounded Warrior Project in recent years, and according to ABC News, "College football teams who are under Under Armour contract have worn special jerseys dedicated to those who have sacrificed their lives in battle."

Are you offended by the "Band of Ballers" T-shirt?

 

Images via Marion Doss/Flickr & UnderArmour.com

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