The Army football team has dropped a popular motto from its program after an internal investigation identified the slogan as having ties to motorcycle gangs and white supremacists.
As far back as 1996, the Army football team has used the slogan, “God Forgives, Brothers Don’t,” or “GFBD.” However, an internal investigation led by an Army Colonel finds that the slogan has been co-opted by gangs and white supremacist groups, causing the football program to drop its use, ESPN reported.
The colonel, who was not identified by West Point officials, also determined that no one involved with adopting the phrase in the 1990s was aware of any connections the phrase has with hate groups.
The phrase was already discontinued on a team level when Athletic Director Mike Buddie and head football coach Jeff Monken mothballed the slogan and accompanying flag after being told of its ties to white supremacists.
Monken was reportedly “mortified” after being told of the connections.
“It’s embarrassing, quite frankly,” said the superintendent of the United States Military Academy, Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams. “We take stuff like this very, very seriously. Once I found out about this goofiness, I asked one of our most senior colonels to investigate.”
The colonel’s investigation determined that the Army team used the slogan without knowing its history, and therefore its use was “benign.”
The flag and slogan had fallen into disuse in previous seasons until Black Knights coach Monken revived it recently after a member of the team staff re-discovered the flag in a storage room. Still, the team said it was using the slogan and flag internally to pump up élan, as opposed to a broader public message. However, the slogan did appear on a wide variety of products and in several different situations, including on-field use.
ESPN reports being asked not to discuss the flag and slogan with an Army spokesman saying they feared someone being offended because the slogan mentions God. But in light of the investigation, the team also denies knowing ahead of time that the slogan may have had white supremacist ties.
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