A Utah couple were banned from displaying the ‘Betsy Ross flag’ at their club’s Major League Soccer matches because it was deemed a “symbol for hate groups.”
Randolf and Diana Scott are Real Salt Lake season ticker holders who have attended every home contest at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. They came to the match in question decked out in team gear and waving the original American flag.
However, when stadium personnel spotted the Revolutionary era banner ― which features 13 stars to represent the original 13 colonies ― they asked the couple to put it away or risk getting the boot.
“Diana bought it for me actually, because my other flag was kind of old and falling apart,” Randolf Scott told Fox 13 Salt Lake. “They kept telling us if he wasn’t going to take it down, we were going to be rejected from the game.”
“He asked me — he’s like, ‘So what’s the purpose of the flag?'” Scott recalled. “I was like, ‘Well, ’cause we love America.'”
Betsy Ross flag deemed too racist for MLS soccer game
A Real Salt Lake executive explained in a statement that the flag has been adopted by “hate groups,” and so is too controversial for MLS games.
“Recently, and very controversially as well as surprising to us, the Colonial flag has been adopted as a symbol for hate groups,” Chief Business Officer Andy Carroll told Fox 13. “Any controversial flags or other similar banners or signs with symbols of hatred, divisiveness and/or intolerance whether intentional or otherwise will not be permitted in our stadiums. Period.”
The MLS Fan Code of Conduct prohibits at games: “Using (including on any sign or other visible representation) political, threatening, abusive, insulting, offensive language and/or gestures, which includes racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist or otherwise inappropriate language or behavior” as they represent “a threat to the safety of the event.”
The couple eventually agreed to stash the star-spangled banner. They said they understood the team’s policy and weren’t upset. More concerning, they said, were the threats of violence Scott has received on social media.
“When people see me or Diana with this flag, I hope they can understand that it’s about the freedoms we have here in America, the legacy that America has,” he said.
The notion that the Betsy Ross flag is racist is a new one. Notably, the flag was on prominent display during both of President Barack Obama’s inaugurations.
Someone needs to tell Barack. pic.twitter.com/1q9L6DGtc0
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) July 3, 2019
However, in July, former NFL quarterback a national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick helped convince Nike to nix the planned rollout of a Fourth of July-themed sneaker that featured the flag. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kaepernick complained to the company, for which he is an endorser, the flag is offensive because of its supposed connection to slavery.
The Betsy Ross flag is not the only American flag to have triggered outrage of late. Also in July, actor Chris Pratt was accused by some of racism after being spotted wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a coiled snake over an American flag. Beneath the symbol appeared the slogan: “Don’t Tread on Me.”
The “Don’t Tread on Me”-snake combo can be traced back to the “Gadsden flag,” which was created by American colonists to rally opposition to British rule ahead of the Revolutionary War. It appears on the U.S. naval jack and seven state license plates and has been picked used to promote the likes of U.S. Men’s Soccer and Metallica.
For the actor’s critics, though, the flag has been rendered problematic by its association with the American Tea Party movement and its ties to the era of slavery.
Pratt, who has long faced skepticism about his Christian faith, did not directly respond to the hullaballoo. But days later, he quietly posted a a verse from the Book of Proverbs on Twitter.
“For lack of wood the fire goes out. And where there is no whisperer quarreling ceases,” he wrote.
Fans understood Pratt to be subtly calling out the “whispers” who fanned the flames of division over his simple act of patriotism.