For many Americans, the 13-star “Betsy Ross flag” is a symbol of America’s victorious fight for independence from Britain.
But two die-hard soccer fans in Utah say Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake asked them to take down a Betsy Ross flag they were waving in the front row at a recent match because the team dubbed the star-spangled banner a “symbol for hate groups.”
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.
Real Salt Lake (RSL) is a part of Major League Soccer, which is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation. MLS has stated in its Fan Code of Conduct that “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” is prohibited at stadiums to preserve the safety of games.