April 14, 2024
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Adidas Halts Sales of Germany’s No. 44 Jersey Over Nazi Symbol Resemblance

Adidas announced on Monday that it would cease the online sales and personalization of the number 44 jersey of the German national team, responding to a controversy sparked by its resemblance to a Nazi symbol. The design of the numeral “4” on the jersey came under scrutiny from social media users in Germany, who noted its similarity to the “lightning bolts” insignia of the Schutzstaffel (SS), a paramilitary organization instrumental in Nazi Germany. The public display of the SS symbol is forbidden in Germany, where it is associated with hate speech and can lead to criminal prosecution.

In a move to address the backlash and condemn any forms of antisemitism and hate, Adidas spokesperson Oliver Brüggen stated that the resemblance was unintended, and the company would block the option to personalize jerseys with names and numbers on its online store. The German Football Federation (DFB) also stopped the distribution of the number 44 jerseys from its platform. Adidas criticized its partners, the DFB and 11Teamsport, for the choice of fonts used on the jerseys, emphasizing the company’s commitment to opposing xenophobia, violence, and hatred.

The DFB disclosed it is collaborating with 11Teamsport to create a new design for the number 4, which will require the Union of Football Associations (UEFA)’s approval. The controversy has led to a reassessment of the design process, with the DFB and its partners denying any initial recognition of the Nazi symbolism. The redesign efforts aim to ensure that future apparel does not inadvertently echo such offensive imagery. No player in the German team has worn the number 44, with team jerseys traditionally numbered from 1-23 for the European Championships.

Pic Courtesy: google/ images are subject to cooyright

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