Detroit Red Wings condemn use of logo in Charlottesville protest


Charlottesville, Virginia is about to play host to a third white nationalist rally this weekend. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@fantasticmrnate) has the story.

As images began pouring out from violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, a familiar symbol showed up in an odd place.

The Detroit Red Wings have released a statement condemning the use of their logo by white nationalists at a rally in Charlottesville, where the University of Virginia is located.  

“The Detroit Red Wings 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.  We are exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration.”

The Free Press also reached out to the NHL for a réponse.

“We are offended by the improper and irresponsible use of intellectual property owned by the National Hockey League and our Clubs and plan to pursue immediate steps to stop that use,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to the Free Press. “As a League, we stand for and champion inclusiveness as a value that should be embraced in sport and in society.”

The NHL latreleased a formal statement of condemnation.

“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.”

A state of emergency was declared on Saturday as clashes erupted among thousands of alt-right demonstrators, counter-protesters, white nationalists and supporters of Black Lives Matter. 

In a display of white nationalism, a Unite The Right march was planned for Saturday before police declared the rally an “unlawful assembly.” 

Who are the Detroit Right Wings?

As of Saturday afternoon they had 25 Tweets posted on their Twitter account.

There were a total of 41 following; 69 followers and 28 likes.

The reaction was severe on the Right Wings Twitter account:

@Larry J. Simon wrote: “Bravo! If serious about disavowing the “Detroit Right Wings’’ you might rethink opening Little Caesars Arena with racist alt-right Kid Rock.”

@PhilOfSports wrote: “Go March around Flint you tough guys. I’d pay to watch that. A—clowns.

@JWCDreamshaper wrote: “Alt-Right idiots from Michigan calling themselves the Detroit Right Wings. Basically morons who couldn’t think up their own logo.’’



But that didn’t stop the Red Wings’ iconic logo from making an appearance. The hockey fan site Russian Machine attributed the logo use to “a Michigan-based group of Identitarians,” known as the Detroit Right Wings. 

It was not immediately clear if this was the group in attendance in Charlottesville.

However, a YouTube video posted by “Detroit Right Wings” on Aug. 5, which has since been taken down around 3 p.m.,  described itself as a “participant in regular activism related to the cause of preserving our people.” A similar Red Wings logo was used as the avatar for the account.

The post, which had 245 views as of Saturday afternoon, included a link to a gofundme page to raise money for the group’s trip to the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville. As of early Saturday, the group had raised $328. 

USA TODAY contributed to this story. Contact Helene St. James: Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

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