Sportswear mogul Nike announced the cancellation of a new clothing line Friday following outrage over the striking resemblance of the line’s logo to the historic Naval Academy crest.
The now defunct soccer line, “The Fives,” was a collaboration between Nike and Los Angeles-based apparel company, Undefeated, that was set to launch over the weekend.
“We recently were made aware of our logo being included into a design that has been previously used by one of our longstanding partners,” Nike said in a statement on Friday. “We have always respected the U.S. Navy and its Academy and have been a longtime supporter of the military. We do not feel it is appropriate to move forward with the collection. We apologize to anyone who was offended.”
The logo was originally unveiled on Undefeated’s social media accounts and immediately spurred outrage among military buffs who recognized the similarly to the Naval Academy’s coat of arms. The logo and the coat of arms both depict a shield bordered by columns. In the logo, Undefeated’s signature tally marks are printed on the shield, whereas in the crest, the shield features an approaching ship.
The Capital Gazette reported that the Office of Naval Research planned to issue Nike and Undefeated a trademark infringement warning and insist the companies cease using the logo on its products.
“The Naval Academy appreciates Nike’s announcement to no longer use the Undefeated logo resembling our Naval Academy crest,” the Academy said in a statement Friday night. “We are pleased by this decision which is respectful of the Academy, our students and alumni.”
During the ordeal, Nike faced serious backlash and even boycott threats on social media, including among Naval Academy grads.
“The Naval Academy crest represents honor, integrity and leadership, and is emblematic of our students and more than 80,000 alumni who serve and have served our country, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in its defense,” an Academy spokeswoman said in a statement prior to the logo’s cancellation. “It is difficult to understand why anyone would modify and use our symbol without permission for marketing and profit motives.”