I’m not sure what happened in the last decade or so, but the people who makes decisions in professional sports leagues are oversensitive morons, despite what a lot of their Ivy League degrees might say about them.
Real Salt Lake (RSL), which is apparently a Major League Soccer (MLS) team based in Utah, gave “hate groups” more power recently by banning the Betsy Ross flag from any games going forward. RSL claims that because they believe “the Colonial flag has been adopted as a symbol for hate groups,” that they no longer want it waved at Rio Tinto Stadium.
According to Fox News:
Randolf and Diana Scott, season ticket holders who have attended every home game for the team at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, came decked out in team jerseys and hats but also brought a version of the original American flag featuring 13 white stars in a circle to represent the union of the original 13 colonies[…]
Stadium personnel asked the couple to take the flag down or risk being asked to leave[…]
After being repeatedly asked to do so, they eventually put the flag away.
“When people see me or Diana with this flag,” Randolf told Fox 13 - Salt Lake City, “I hope they can understand that it’s about the freedoms we have here in America, the legacy that America has.”
Unfortunately for the Scotts, RSL and their Chief Business Officer Andy Carroll don’t view them that way when they wave that particular flag.
Here’s Carroll’s full statement about the banning of the Betsy Ross flag:
At Real Salt Lake it is our mission to unify our community through soccer and we promote inclusion, diversity and acceptance. It is important that everyone in the community not only feel welcome at our stadiums, but appreciated, respected and valued. Rio Tinto Stadium is reflective of that on match day and we encourage a unifying and welcoming environment to all fans at all of our RSL and Utah Royals FC matches. To be permitted to bring a flag into any of our stadiums is a privilege. Recently, and very controversially as well as surprising to us, the Colonial flag has been adopted as a symbol for hate groups. 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.
Sure. They promote “inclusion, diversity and acceptance,” unless you’re a flag waving American in an American city. RSL has the right to restrict whatever they like in their own stadium, but don’t hide behind inclusion when the only type of inclusion they permit is their own.
Also, by banning things like the Betsy Ross flag — claiming that it’s a symbol of hate groups — they ignorantly give power over those items to actual hate groups.
Great job, RSL! Way to try and grow the sport of soccer’s fan base in the U.S. by buying into something still unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick said one day, claiming that the flag "was connected to slavery." Brilliant marketing strategy!
For local coverage of this story, watch below: