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WHL issues apology for ‘offensive’ Prince Albert Raiders jersey

The WHL is apologizing for an "insensitive and offensive" jersey unveiled Saturday night. @worldhockeyrpt / Twitter

The commissioner of the Western Hockey League (WHL) issued a statement and an apology after the Prince Albert Raiders unveiled an alternate third jersey.

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Ron Robison said the jersey was inspired by “a highly successful era in Club history.”

The logo depicts a Middle-Eastern man wearing a tunic and headdress, brandishing a curved sword.

The jersey received backlash on social media Saturday.

“How did it even get to this point? If an organization has a racist logo in it’s past, that’s exactly where it should stay. It was changed for a reason. How many people in that organization looked at this jersey and decided it was a good idea?” One Twitter user wrote.

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“We recognize the dated design is insensitive and offensive. After consultation with the Prince Albert Raiders, this uniform and brand will be discontinued effective immediately,” the statement read.

“On behalf of the WHL and the Prince Albert Raiders, we regret this uniform design was approved and sincerely apologize for any harm it may have caused,” the statement added.

The statement said neither the league nor the team would comment further.

“This is, frankly, pretty weak. The jersey never should have been released and the fact that it got to this point is mind boggling,” another Twitter user wrote in response to the WHL statement.

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This isn’t the first time the team has received backlash over the image.

In 2014, the team unveiled a new mascot derived from their original logo.

The logo was worn on jerseys from 1982 to 1996 and returned as a third jersey in the 2000s. It was also a shoulder crest on the jersey from 2010 to 2013.

The hockey team was under fire after introducing the new mascot that critics called offensive to Middle Eastern people.

—With files from The Canadian Press, Thomas Piller

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