The familiar winged-wheel logo is one of the more iconic emblems in hockey, if not the North American sports scene.
So why is the Detroit Red Wings’ storied symbol being used by at least one white nationalist group?
The issue was brought to the forefront by events this weekend at the violent rally in Charlottesville, Va., where many white nationalists were carrying signs sporting the Red Wings logo. In some instances, the spokes in the wheel were altered to represent the Nazi SS logo.
How did this happen? The Web site The Russian Machine Never Breaks offered this explanation:
“A group of white nationalists called the Detroit Right Wings have appropriated the team’s winged wheel logo, sticking it on the shields they carry.
The Detroit Right Wings (motto: Rust Reforged!) are a Michigan-based group of Identitarians, an anti-immigrant vein of white nationalism that counts Richard Spencer among its proponents.”
According to the Washington Post, this Identitarian movement began in Europe but has spread to North America in recent years.
The Detroit Right Wings had been using the altered Red Wings logo on its Twitter account, which was taken down Saturday afternoon.
The Red Wings were quick to condemn the usage Saturday, saying in a statement that the organization “vehemently disagree with and are not associated in any way with the event taking place today in Charlottesville, Va. The Red Wings believe that Hockey is for Everyone and we celebrate the great diversity of our fan base and our nation.”
The Red Wings went on to state they are “exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration.”
The NHL then followed suit, issuing a statement that read “We are obviously outraged by the irresponsible and improper use of our intellectual property as seen this weekend in Charlottesville, Va. This specific use is directly contrary to the value of inclusiveness that our League prioritizes and champions. We will take immediate and all necessary steps to insure the use is discontinued as promptly as possible, and will vigorously pursue other remedies, as appropriate.”
The Detroit Right Wings, according to Deadspin.com, took to YouTube in July to raise $2,500 to fund their Charlottesville trip. The GoFundMe raising resulted in only $328 from four total donations.
The group’s YouTube Channel has since been taken down, with a notification stating “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on hate speech.”
One person died and 19 were injured after a car plowed through a crowd Saturday at the rally. Clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters earlier in the day injured eight and prompted Charlottesville police and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.
Why white nationalists are misappropriating Red Wings logo – MLive.com