Under Armour insults veterans and veteran groups
Under Armour pulled a t-shirt design that created a social media firestorm and later released an apology. Under Armour’s shirt parodied the 1945 photograph of American Marines lifting an American flag at the battle of Iowa Jima. The shirt titled “Band of Ballers”, depicted basketball players raising a hoop in same manner as the American flag. The Baltimore-based company pulled the shirt off their retail website after receiving dozens of complains saying it was disrespectful towards veterans by using the historic moment to increase sales in their basketball department.
Under Armour has a very close relationship with the military through its continued sponsorship of the Wounded Warrior Project. The Baltimore-based company faced heat from customers on their Facebook page. One comment read,”We are a proud military family and you have lost our business,” “Shame on you for trying to cash in on the sacrifices of our military. Athletes are not heroes, they are grossly overpaid people that for the most part have no clue what it means to work hard and sacrifice. Under Armour issued several tweets attempting to calm the angered supporters of the company.
“Under Armour has the utmost respect and admiration for active duty service men and women and veterans who have served our country,” the company tweeted. “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 the necessary steps to remove this shirt, and any related shirts, from all retail and ensure this doesn’t happen again,” the statement concluded. Under Armour previously came under fire in 2013, when they designed Northwestern University football uniforms were criticized saying the helmet, gloves and cleats appeared to be splattered with streaks of blood. Both
Under Armour and Northwestern defended the uniform, which also used elements of the American flag, saying it was inspired by a flag that had flown proudly for a long period of time. Northwestern apologized that some people could misinterpret the design but used the uniform anyway. At the time, Under Armour highlighted its ongoing relationship with the Wounded Warrior Project.
Political commentators believe the employees who came up with new design, should be fired as a result of insulting veterans and veteran groups. One supporter on Facebook posted a statement asking, “What is so bad about a backyard game of basketball; which fosters teamwork and camaraderie,” one person wrote on Facebook. “What is so disrespectful about an image that may help to subtly remind people of the brave acts of men…?”