High school graduate claims Walmart denied sale of 'rebel' mascot ring

Aaron and his mother said Walmart (Source: WAFF)
Aaron and his mother said Walmart (Source: WAFF)

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - A mother and her son said Walmart would not sell them a class ring with a rebel mascot on it.

Brend Browder said after saving his money for a class ring, she and her son Aaron headed to a Decatur Walmart to get the jewel he'd been waiting and working for.

"He's a hard worker, he's a good kid. He's the son a mama wants to have," said Brenda Browder of her son, Aaron. 

"It's going to be a basic square stone crest ring with a sapphire stone, one side with the JROTC crest, the other side with being the rebel mascot and around the stone being 'West Morgan Rebels,'" said Aaron.
But when they arrived at the jewelry counter, ordering the ring wasn't so easy.

"[The Walmart employee] said 'No, we can't do this. The rebel has been banned. It is too racist and controversial,'" said Brenda.

Aaron wanted his school's rebel mascot on the ring - that mascot doesn't have a Confederate flag on it. But the school's rebel mascot and Walmart's generic rebel design are not the same. In the Walmart design, you can see the Confederate flag in the foreground.
Even when they asked for just the word "rebel" to be put on the ring, their requests were denied.

"This overreaction to the political climate has gone too far," said Brenda. "A blanket coverage of anything rebel that's not going to work in the South. There are too many schools, there are too many of us."
Walmart responded to the situation with the following statement:

"The ring requested by the customer is a design that is no longer offered at our store and was not the high school mascot.  We have made our third party supplier aware that customers might be interested in purchasing a ring with the high school mascot and they are working on making these available to customers in the community."

Walmart also said they didn't deny the adding of the word "rebel" on the ring. Aaron isn't buying it, however.

"You need to think about not what the political climate says, but what the community says, what the people you sell to say," said Aaron.

This comes less than three weeks after Walmart, along with a handful of other retailers, discontinued the sale of products with the Confederate emblem in the wake of the nationwide outcry for its removal.

Aaron and his mom say the ring appeared to be available in the store and online catalogs on Sunday.

Thursday, the Decatur Walmart store had removed that particular emblem for their in-store options.

The Browder's said they now plan to get his ring from a local jewelry company.

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