The Navy Midshipmen changed their team motto for the 2019 season from "Load the Clip" to "Win the Day" after concerns were raised about insensitivity toward victims of gun violence.
Chase Cook of the Capital Gazette provided a statement from Naval Academy superintendent vice admiral Sean S. Buck about Friday's decision.
"It is always my priority, part of my mission statement, for the Navy to be a good neighbor," he said. "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."
Maryland, the home of Navy football, was the location of two mass shootings last year. Five members of the Capital Gazette staff were killed by a gunman in the newspaper's Annapolis newsroom in June 2018, and three people were killed at an Aberdeen Rite-Aid store last September, per Cook.
Midshipmen head coach Ken Niumatalolo previously told the Capital Gazette he was "leery" about the proposed slogan.
"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," he said. "It means you have to be prepared for the fight and that is a process that happens every day."
Naval Academy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said the coaching staff and players decided to change the slogan after they realized it "created sensitivities that were not aligned with the original intent," per Cook.
The Midshipmen open the regular season Aug. 31 against Holy Cross.