The Florida State football team apologized Monday for a photoshopped graphic showing Martin Luther King Jr. doing their signature “tomahawk chop.”
The Seminoles tweeted the image from the team’s recruiting account earlier Monday, writing: “Happy MLK Day!”
The account later deleted the tweet and apologized, saying the post was a “well-intentioned effort to recognize” the civil rights leader.
The image featured King’s quote, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way,” and showed a photoshopped image of King with his arm outstretched and sporting a Seminoles glove.
For those who didn’t see this Florida State tweet before they took it down … How does this happen? pic.twitter.com/bWsVURkHX8
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) January 21, 2019
“The quote resonated with our program’s Do Something mantra,” the apology read.
“In our attempt to more closely connect the message to FSU, we foolishly posted a graphic that was not in line with our intent. We are sorry for missing the mark in our attempt to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.”
— Seminoles Recruiting (@FSU_Recruiting) January 21, 2019
The “tomahawk chop” is a tradition that has become a part of fan culture at Florida State, as well as among Atlanta Braves supporters and a number of other sports teams. The move has been widely criticized, with indigenous groups and other critics saying it is demeaning to Native American culture.
A number of teams in college and professional sports have abandoned Native American mascots and team names in recent years.