Under Armour pulls controversial shirt, issues apology

Many are not pleased with Under Armour's "Band of Ballers" shirt design. (Photo courtesy UnderArmour.com)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Under Armour apparel company is facing harsh criticism for a T-shirt design some say is insensitive to veterans.

The “Band of Ballers” shirt featured a design resembling the famous flag raising after the WWII Battle of Iwo Jima. But instead of a flag, four silhouetted figures in shorts and ball caps are hoisting a basketball hoop.

The shirt was pulled from Under Armour’s online store late Saturday morning.

The company issued an apology on Twitter:

We have taken the necessary steps to remove this shirt, and any related shirts, from all retail and ensure this doesn’t happen again. We deeply regret and apologize the release of a shirt that is not reflective of our commitment to support & honor our country’s heroes. Under Armour has the utmost respect and admiration for active duty service men and women and veterans who have served our country.

The fitness apparel brand’s Facebook page had been flooded with comments about the shirt design.

“This is a memorial. With the names of the fallen,” Brett Duffus’ Facebook comment with more than 125 likes reads. “Not some group of ‘ballers’ putting up a basketball hoop. I will never even think of buying an under armor product again. I hope they get pulled from all the military px’s as well.”

Phillip Talley, another Facebook commenter, says he is a veteran and he was not pleased when he saw the shirt. “I am a 22 year vet. of The United States Marine Corps and you have stooped to a new low. You have proved that there are people in this world that have no idea about honor or integrity. I will never use one of your products again.”

The famous photo of a flag being raised after the Battle of Iwo Jima. (Joe Rosenthal/AP)
The famous photo of a flag being raised after the Battle of Iwo Jima. (Joe Rosenthal/AP)

Dozens of Twitter users — many who say they are normally fans of Under Armour — also voiced outrage at the Iwo Jima-inspired design.

Some did not see what the fuss is about.

“As a veteran I see nothing wrong with the design of this shirt,” Jesse Spencer said on the 8News sister station WISH-TV’s Facebook page. “The problem is with people being overly sensitive and offended by everything. Pack up and move on.”

What do you think? Click HERE to weigh in on the conversation on our Facebook page.

The T-shirt was for sale for $24.99 on Under Armour’s Website.

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