The Army football program has stopped using a team slogan after it learned that the phrase’s origin is linked to a white supremacist group.
The team had been using the “God forgives, brothers don’t” slogan and even featured the phrase on a flag it would carry into the games, according to ESPN. The phrase also appeared on some team-related merchandise.
Officials at the military academy found out in September that the slogan had a connection to the Aryan Brotherhood, but the team was unaware of the white supremacist ties.
Athletic director Mike Buddie told ESPN that head football coach Jeff Monken notified the team after learning about the slogan’s roots and told them it would no longer be used in any fashion effective immediately.
"It's embarrassing, quite frankly," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, the superintendent of the United States Military Academy, told the news outlet. "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."
Military officials undertook a two-month investigation and determined that the phrase was used without knowledge of its origin.
The investigation found that use of the phrase had nothing to do "with the views or beliefs of white supremacist groups or any other disreputable organizations with which they might also be associated," according to an executive summary of the investigation, ESPN reports.
The letters “GFBD” were initially placed on the upper lip of a skull-and-crossbones image used by the Black Knights football team. The use of the flag featuring the symbol eventually stopped but was brought back by Monken when he joined the program in 2014.
Since the discovery of the phrase’s origin, the academy has updated its process for vetting and approving mottos or phrases used by teams.
The executive summary of the investigation notes that the academy is considering creating a replacement motto for a "new era" of Army football, according to ESPN.
The Hill has reached out to Army’s athletic department for comment.