What may have started out as a well-intentioned tribute to one of the most iconic images of WWII turned into a PR nightmare for Under Armour. The sports clothing company has pulled its "Band of Ballers" T-shirt (which showed a group erecting a basketball hoop) after complaints started pouring in about the image's resemblance to the Iwo Jima Memorial, which depicts soldiers raising the American flag, USA Today reports. The company's social media pages were bombarded with messages, including one from a Facebook poster who said, "U should find the senior VP who thought this was a good idea and fire them … Totally unacceptable." Under Armour responded by taking the shirt off its website and Amazon, per the Daily Dot, and on Saturday tweeted, "We have taken the necessary steps to remove this shirt, and any related shirts, from all retail and ensure this doesn't happen again."
The apology continues: "We deeply regret and apologize [for] the release of a shirt that is not reflective of our commitment to support & honor our country's heroes." In fact, some are baffled that the company—which says in a statement that "supporting those who serve our country has been part of our brand's DNA," per ABC News—would have designed such a shirt, especially given its track record of supporting the military: Under Armour sales have raised at least $3 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, per ABC. But at least one military vet who commented on the company's Facebook page doesn't see what all the hubbub is about. "As a 24 yr vet of the US Air Force I don't see it as [disrespectful]. … it's a symbol of team work and paying homage to the iconic image. … I like the design and will probably buy one." (Read more Under Armour stories.)