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Duke basketball team faces fire for West Point pose with fake firearms

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Duke basketball players were forced to pull a photograph from the college's Twitter account after anti-gun activists complained about the content: Team members were holding fake rifles, in recognition of their visit to West Point military academy.

The weapons they wielded looked like AR-15s and M4s, but were actually fakes, used for cadet training purposes, said Duke associate director of athletics Joe Jackson, in a report. On top of that, players weren't trying to send any pro-gun or political message — they were simply taking photographs in a setting where guns are part of daily life, in recognition of West Point tradition, and in order to uphold team esprit de corps, Mr. Jackson said.

"[The team was] given the opportunity by Army personnel to take some pictures," he said, and then after displayed the picture of the team touting fake guns, the public relations disaster began. Deadspin's headline: "What is this photo of the Duke Basketball Team holding assault rifles?"

Mr. Jackson admitted that an out-of-context look at the photograph might send a message of glorifying guns. But he said such an impression would be wrong, reported.

"If you take that image by itself and it's taken out of context, it could be seen as somehow glamorizing gun violence or something like that," he said. "Clearly, [that's] not the case."

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