Wests Tigers backflip on decision to put 'American soldiers' on front of ANZAC jersey
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The Wests Tigers' disastrous start to the season hasn’t been limited to on-field results, with the club coming under fire for ‘embarrassing’ detail in their ANZAC Day jersey.
The bottom-placed side has decided to backflip on their decision to use a stock image of American soldiers on their commemorative jersey.
The jersey did the rounds on social media with eagle-eyed fans soon realising the two unidentified soldiers were definitely not Australian or from New Zealand.
The weaponry and uniforms of the soldiers indicate that they are from an American background.
Plenty of fans online took aim at the club for the lack of details in releasing their jersey, as per Yahoo Sports.
One called it a ‘disrespectful piece of rubbish’ and called out the club for not doing their research.
Another blasted the team as ‘poorly run club’ and wondered why Aussie soldiers weren’t placed on the jersey instead.
Another Tigers fan slammed the jersey while simultaneously taking aim at the club’s on-field results.
They wrote: “Why do we even bother? If this turns out that we put soldiers on an ANZAC jersey that are not even Australian (or even NZ) then that will actually do me. At 0 and 5 do we even deserve to get in on the ANZAC commemorations this year?”
The club initially came forward defending their decision and the jersey, saying it was put together in collaboration with Holsworthy Army Barracks.
In a statement, via Fox League, they said: “Wests Tigers has collaborated with Holsworthy Army Barracks, who have sighted and approved all collateral relating to the release of this jersey.
“The soldiers on the jersey simply depict the modern-day soldier serving in a desert environment.
“The image in question, which is a stock image, has been purchased under license by our official apparel partner.
“The final design was approved by NRL Licensing.
“The military camouflage pattern above the chevron on the jersey is an authentic replica of the Australian Army camouflage that has been digitalised and grey-scaled.
In response to US military on their jersey, Wests Tigers tell me “the soldiers simply depict the modern day soldier serving in desert environment.”— Mark Levy (@marklevy2gb) April 4, 2023
If you expect fans to pay $160 for commemorative jersey, you need to do better than Google image search of ‘soldier in the desert.’
“Both the Australian and New Zealand flags are represented on the jersey’s shoulders, again honouring our ANZACs.
“Above all else, this jersey honours all Defence Force personnel who have served in recent conflicts in Middle East wars, who are so often underrepresented.
However, now the team has decided to redesign their commemorative jersey.
In a statement, they said: “As a club Wests Tigers is deeply sorry if the use of this image has in any way offended anyone. This was never our intention, and we are taking steps to rectify this.
“We have taken on board feedback from our members and fans, and we will be redesigning our 2023 Commemorative Jersey, immediately.
“Wests Tigers deeply regret any offence the use of this stock image may have caused and remains completely committed to honouring and respecting all those servicemen and women who have, and who continue, to serve.”