The Navy Midshipmen have dropped their motto for the upcoming 2019 season following questions about the slogan’s sensitivity from reporters at The Capital Gazette.
That’s the Annapolis-based newspaper where a gunman opened fire in the newsroom on June 28, 2018, killing five journalists and wounding two others.
Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean S. Buck confirmed the team is doing away with “Load the Clip,” a motto chosen by senior Midshipmen football players, and replacing it with “Win the Day,” The Capital Gazette reported.
“It is always my priority, part of my mission statement, for the Navy to be a good neighbor," Buck told The Capital.
"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.”
Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo expressed skepticism over the motto last month, The Capital reported, but acknowledged the slogan’s militarized connection with his players.
“Clearly it’s a metaphor that speaks to the fact we’re going to battle every weekend and when you go to battle you need to have enough ammunition,” Niumatalolo told The Capital.
"It means you have to be prepared for the fight and that is a process that happens every day.”
Team captains selected the new motto after meeting to discuss recent criticism.
“Corrective measures were taken immediately and on behalf of the team at large, our sincerest apologies to anyone who was offended,” Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk told The Capital.
"It was a lesson learned and it’s important that everything we do at the Naval Academy represents not only appropriate action, but assumed responsibility. We are hopeful we can now put this behind us and ‘Win the Day.’”
Navy kicks off its season on Aug. 31 with a home game against Holy Cross.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.