Here’s What Navy Football’s Changed Motto Means

In the lead-up to their 2019 season, the US Naval Academy’s football team decided to change their season’s motto from “load the clip” to “win the day.” This was in response to employees at The Capital Gazette (a newspaper in Annapolis, MD) calling into question a lack of sensitivity surrounding last year’s deadly shooting in its newsroom. The horrific incident took place in June of 2018 and left five people dead. For the past several years, the team’s captains have come up with a different motto to use for the season. According to a Navy spokeswoman, the phrase “load the clip” was intended to “be a metaphor for daily game day preparation.”

When put into context of current American society, this decision becomes very interesting to dissect. It speaks to a number of truths about our current culture as well as the modern military in this country. Several points become apparent when considering what these events mean. Here are a few examples of those points.

1. Those who think that the military is not a politically correct institution are wrong.

When one thinks about political correctness in the United States, a number of groups or institutions may come to mind. Examples can include politicians, the mainstream media or colleges. But some might think that the armed forces should be omitted from this collection of PC examples. Perhaps that’s because they tend to lean to the right politically or because they rely heavily on the use of guns and other weapons. But make no mistake about it, the military can often match the political correctness of any other established fixture of American life.

Look no further than the statement made by Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Sean Buck. In response to this controversy, Buck 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.”

A more politically correct response would be difficult to imagine. To call the motto “Load the Clip” inappropriate and insensitive while also apologizing shows that even the military is not immune from going into damage control to appease anyone who may find something insensitive.

2. Loading a clip is the only way that a Navy officer would be able to win at their most important job.

The reason for the “Load the Clip” slogan being used by the Navy’s football team is the obvious connotation between sports and the field of battle. Without a loaded clip, Navy personnel would be significantly unprepared to enter combat and “Win the Day” (in keeping with their new slogan). But anyone with a reasonable understanding of the differences between athletic competitions and war should be able to tell that loading a physical clip (or magazine) with actual bullets is not how football games are won. So despite the fact that we as Americans root for our military to “win” on the battlefield, the means to which they win (like loading clips) are a bridge too far when put into a metaphorical context for a team that represents a branch of that same military.

3. Despite the loading of clips, the US Military rarely wins wars anymore.

Actually winning a war has become pretty rare for the American armed forced these days. It’s not for lack of preparation since their clips (and other weapons) have no problem being loaded. It’s also not for a lack of technological advancement, deadliness or money spent since all of these things have made our military the greatest in the world. The lack of winning is a phenomenon that arises from the politicians who send troops to war not having adequate goals for those troops to achieve in order to actually win. This is why the military often spends year after year (and sometimes decade after decade) occupying various nations around the world with seemingly no end in sight. Winning isn’t possible if you can’t know when you’ve won. So actually, “Load the Clip” is more appropriate than “Win the Day” to today’s Navy since preparing weapons for use has become much more common than winning wars.

ESPN’s “Robert Lee” Incident Only Latest Example of PC Absurdity

By now, many people both in and out of the sports world are familiar with the controversy surrounding broadcaster Robert Lee. In short, the recent rallies in Charlottesville, VA have caused ESPN to pull Lee from working Virginia’s game against William and Mary due to his name being the same as the most famous general of the Confederacy. As surprising as this move may be to some, it is simply another example of the rampant political correctness that accompanies both ESPN and most of the sports media. So let’s take a stroll through some (though certainly not all) recent events highlighting just how deep the plague of PC has infected the sports culture in America.

(2006) Don Haskins was not a Social Justice Warrior.

In the movie Glory Road (produced by Disney, parent company of ESPN), the day before Texas Western’s National Championship game against Kentucky, there is a scene where coach Haskins gathers his players on the bleachers for a pre-game talk. In that talk, Haskins vows to “put a stop” to the race based criticism of his team. He states that he will accomplish this by only playing the black players who were on his team in the championship game. Five would start and two would be subbed in off of the bench. The non-black players wouldn’t play in the game at all.

This speech that Haskins gave his team never actually happened in real life. Texas Western had been starting an all-black five for the entire season. So the starters for the championship game weren’t chosen on the basis of an attempt to triumph over bigotry or affect social tolerance. Haskins, like every other coach of any other team, was just trying to win games. When asked about the race of his starters, Haskins downplayed the social significance of what he had done by saying “I really didn’t think about starting five black guys. I just wanted to put my five best guys on the court.” It just so happened that all five of his best guys were black. In the true story, the players who were able to start for the 1966 championship team were able to achieve that status purely on their own merits. But in the movie, that accomplishment is tainted by the desire of a coach trying to advance a social agenda. By creating a motivation to conquer racism as the primary goal for the team’s coach, the film undercuts the talent necessary to become a starter and makes it more about factors outside the court than on it.

(2008) Does talking about Mexicans picking up dry-cleaning actually offend anyone?

On ESPN’s Monday Night Football, broadcaster Tony Kornheiser remarked after playing a touchdown call from a Spanish Affiliate station “I took high school Spanish and that either means ‘nobody is going to touch him’ or ‘could you pick up my dry cleaning in the morning.” Kornheiser wasn’t fired for saying this. But he did end up apologizing for it. But was what he said even offensive? Was he perpetuating the well-known stereotype that Mexicans like to pick up dry-cleaning? No doubt this was just damage control for a politically correct organization trying to cover all of their bases.

(2009) No, not all the world’s black people are African Americans.

During a college basketball matchup between Tennessee and Vanderbilt which was played around the time of Barrack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration, a conversation with Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli was a topic that sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards brought up. According to Edwards, Ezeli’s thoughts on the inauguration were as follows:

“I talked to Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli – who is from Nigeria – before the game about Obama’s inauguration. He told me that it isn’t as big of a deal to him as it is to most people, because all they have in Nigeria are African-American presidents.”

Now of course, the individuals who are elected to higher office in Nigeria are not African American (they’re African). It seems rather unlikely that Ezeli would have used the term “African American” to describe his own countrymen. He most likely used the word “black.” But that’s not quite good enough for ESPN. Even when stating someone is an African American is factually incorrect, it’s better than being politically incorrect.

(2016) The Espy Awards embrace gun control.

At the annual ESPN awards show (called the ESPY’s), the 2016 show involved a segment on an innocent teenager who had been shot and killed. The segment began with two time NBA MVP Steph Curry talking about all of the times guns take lives in America. Of course he didn’t mention the large percentage of these times which are suicides or the times where a shooting saves a life from a would-be attacker. The slain boy’s mother was even brought on stage to make the case for more gun control before the segment ended. No mention of the war on drugs or any societal problems that may have caused this teen’s death. Only guns are allowed to be blamed for violence on an ESPN award show.

Well, there it is. Just a taste of how blatantly adherent to political correctness ESPN (and likely others in the sports media) have become. It often takes an incident as absurd as banning a man from a broadcasting job due to his name to shine light on how bad things have gotten. But let’s also take notice of other examples that show the sports media for what it is. Holding them accountable for these types of incidents might cause them to take a long look at their current state.