The Capital Gazette commended the Navy football team’s decision to drop “Load the Clip” as its motto for the 2019 season.
The Midshipmen play their home games about three miles from the Annapolis, Md., newspaper’s office, where a shooter killed five staff members on June 28, 2018.
“We must applaud the decision by the Naval Academy and its football team to change the motto for this season from the gun-glory image initially adopted to a more traditional message about victory,” the Gazette’s editorial board wrote Sunday, two days after Navy announced its new team slogan would be “Win the Day.”
“It’s clear the midshipmen responsible did not see the connection between “Load the clip,” a reference to ammunition magazines and a readiness to keep firing, and the gun violence that is tearing this nation apart.”
Navy’s four senior captains announced the original 2019 motto Thursday. The Gazette wrote in a news story that day: “While it may come off as insensitive in a town where a mass shooting took place in 2018, the phrase ‘Load the Clip’ is meant to carry a symbolism that speaks to the work ethic required to succeed on Saturdays.”
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo told reporters Saturday that the captains wanted to change the motto as soon as they learned some people were offended.
“We sincerely apologize if it upset anyone, but it was not meant to be taken the way it may have been by some,” Niumatalolo said. “We understand that it probably wasn’t appropriate considering the current climate and certain things that are happening in our society.”
Niumatalolo’s comments came less than a week after three people died in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting in California, and hours after a mass shooting killed 22 people in El Paso and hours before nine people died in another one in Dayton, Ohio.
The next day, the Gazette wrote in its editorial: “Finding a solution to the crisis of gun violence won’t be as easy. We hope these midshipmen and others like them understand that something must be done, and as future leaders of this nation, they share that burden with the rest of us.
“Today, we will offer a few more words to match their new motto, ‘Win the day.’
“Welcome to the fight, gentlemen.”