The Betsy Ross flag with 13 stars are for many nothing more than a symbol of American independence from British rule, yet others consider it lately as symbolic to a time of slavery since being linked to some far-right groups. This is what a Utah couple had to learn the hard way after being asked to take down their flag at an MLS game earlier this month.
The Betsy Ross Flag
This was originally the American flag, with 13 white stars placed within a circle format, which represented the 13 original colonies of the States. To many, this is a symbol of the freedom which American citizens experience in their daily lives, and it is something which they are proud of. Two such Americans are Diana and Randolf Scott. They are season ticket holders and loyal attendees to the Rio Tinto Stadium based in Utah. They attend games in their jerseys and hats supporting their team and their Betsy Ross flag, celebrating freedom. Recently, however, this flag became a controversial issue when it became associated with far-right groups. Many consider the flag now a symbol of slavery, representing oppression.
Taking Down the Flag
The couple was set in the front row, waving their flag, when stadium personnel requested that they take down their flag. The alternative if they wouldn’t do it was to leave the stadium. Diana stated that they were repeatedly told to remove their flag or leave the game. The couple packed away their flag later on, still confused why the flag which they consider a symbol of their love for their country, wasn’t welcome.
According to Real Salt Lake, they have a Code of Conduct for fans. In this Code of Conduct, fans are prohibited from displaying any signs reflecting homophobia, xenophobia, sexism or abusive behaviour or might be deemed politically threatening. Fans are also forbidden from offensive gestures and language. According to personnel, the flag has recently become such a symbol, and they acted according to the stipulations of the Code of Conduct.
Nike and Betsy Ross
The Scotts weren’t the only ones who recently had to reconsider the use of their beloved flag. Nike had to pull a newly released shoe from the market, which reflected the flag on the heel of the shoe. The first to complain about this was Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick has a proud association with Black Lives Matter and has been an advocate for them for a while already. He is also responsible for protesting against the police killing African-Americans by kneeling during NFL games. Diana Scott expressed her disappointment in Nike for pulling off the shoe. She is one of many who is proud of the flag and the independence which it symbolizes.
The Scotts mentioned that it didn’t bother them so much to take down the flag, while they still hope that when people see them with the flag that they will realize the greatness of American freedom. What does bother them, however, is the fear of threats of violence against Randolf on social media afterwards.