The official account for the Boston Celtics quickly deleted a tweet touting their star player after many online complained that he was wearing the famous "Don't Tread on Me" design of the Gadsden Flag.
Quick-thinking Twitter users posted screenshots of the deleted tweet of point guard Kemba Walker with the design on the back of his jacket.
The historical Gadsden Flag has come to symbolize resistance to government authority and was taken up by the conservative Tea Party movement in opposition to the expansion of government under former President Barack Obama.
Some on the left have claimed that the historical symbol has taken on racist and white supremacist meaning in order to smear those wearing the design.
"If you're from the south especially you probably know about the don't tread on me flag. How in the hell does that flag make it on the back of Kemba Walker?" replied one critic on Twitter.
"The boston celtics posting a pic of kemba walker in a neo nazi jacket is so aggressively on-brand for that city," read another tweet.
"Kemba walker came to the game dressed in the racist snake flag. Somebody flagrant foul him real quick," replied another critic.
'It went with my sneakers'
Walker said in his post-game interview that he didn't have any special message behind wearing the symbol.
"Was there any message? No," said Walker. "I...I'm kinda confused about the question."
"People just noted it on social media," the reporter replied, "they just thought it was a cool jacket, I didn't know, the 'Don't Tread on Me' thing on the back, I didn't know if there was anything to it, or just a fashion statement?"
"I have no idea. The colors looked good, it went with my sneakers, that's all," Walker said.
The controversy was drowned out by Walker's standout performance in the game against the Washington Wizards that helped propel the Celtics into the NBA playoffs.
Here's the post-game interview with Walker:
Kemba Walker Postgame Interview | Celtics vs Wizards www.youtube.com