Be like Michael Jordan? Not at Air Force Academy

Back in the 1990s, it seemed that almost everyone wanted to be like Michael Jordan.

But apparently those days are over.

This week the U.S. Air Force Academy issued an apology after a commandant cited the former pro basketball star as an exemplar of good grooming and professional appearance.

“He was never seen with a gaudy chain around his neck, his pants below his waistline, or with a backwards baseball hat on during public appearances,” Master Sgt. Zachary Parish wrote in an email to cadets, according to the Gazette in Colorado Springs.

"He was never seen with a gaudy chain around his neck, his pants below his waistline, or with a backwards baseball hat on during public appearances.”

- Air Force Academy Master Sgt. Zachary Parish, in an email to cadets

Parish is the top enlisted airman assigned to the student body, called the cadet wing. Across the military, top enlisted personnel enforce haircut regulations for lower-ranking personnel.

But some recipients of Parish’s email took offense, interpreting his message not as well-intentioned advice, but as a slight against African-Americans, the newspaper reported.

An academy colonel quickly attempted corrective action.

“Let me apologize for the email sent earlier today by our first sergeant,” Col. Julian Stevens wrote, according to the newspaper. "The comments were very disrespectful, derogatory and in no way reflective of (cadet wing) permanent party views.

“Microagressions such as these are often blindspots/unintentional biases that are not often recognized, and if they are recognized they are not always addressed,” Stevens added.

But even the colonel’s message drew criticism, as some Air Force sergeants writing on Facebook accused the officer of being overly sensitive.

“This is a perfect example of why we're going to lose a war with Russia/China,” one commenter wrote, according to the Gazette.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.