An NBA basketball game developer has apologized after it tweeted an image resembling a Nazi symbol while promoting an update.
The NBA 2K21 MyTeam’s Twitter account shared an image on Wednesday, with six different symbols on it, each one representing a different city or area that will be playable in the MyTEAM Season 8 update.
One of the symbols had a four-leafed clover, meant to be a nod to the Boston Celtics, and another hinted towards the Philadelphia 76ers by having a cracked Liberty Bell.
However, it was noted on social media that one of the images, showing jagged lines emanating from a basketball in the center, is almost identical to the “Black Sun” symbol used by Nazis and other white supremacists.
NBA 2K21 MyTeam later deleted the tweet and apologized for the “inappropriate” image shared to its one million Twitter followers.
“Earlier this evening, we pulled a tweet related to upcoming MyTEAM Season 8 content due to inappropriate imagery,” the tweet said.
“We apologize to our community for the oversight and for any offense we’ve caused. Corrections are being made and we look forward to showing you more content soon.”
NBA 2K21 MyTeam tweeted the six symbols again on Thursday, but this time the jagged lines were removed from the symbol with the basketball in the center.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Black Sun, or “sonnenrad,” is one of a number of ancient European symbols that the Nazis appropriated in their attempt to “invent an idealized ‘Aryan/Norse’ heritage.”
One version of the sonnenrad that is popular among white supremacists uses concentric circles with crooked rays emanating from the inner circle to the outer circle, similar to the image that was tweeted by the NBA 2K21 MyTeam account.
However, the sonnenrad appears in the traditional symbolism of ancient cultures, including Old Norse and Celtic, which do not have far-right connections.
“Because sonnenrad imagery is used by many cultures around the world, one should not assume that most sonnenrad-like images necessarily denote racism or white supremacy; rather, they should be analyzed carefully in the context in which they appear,” the ADL states.
The 2K video game publisher has been contacted for further comment.
In 2020, the Call of Duty franchise removed the ability to perform an “OK” hand gesture while playing, after it became associated with white supremacy.
Players noticed that they were no longer able to perform the gesture on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone following an update in July 2020.
The previous innocuous hand gesture has been widely co-opted by the far-right as a coded reference to show support for white supremacists as fingers spell out WP (white power).
The linking of the gesture to white supremacy began as a trolling campaign on the controversial message board 4Chan, but became so widespread in its use that it became an actual sign of support for far-right extremists.
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