An NFL fan was spotted at a Jets-Patriots game on Sunday sitting on the American flag, and was captured in a photo that has now gone viral.
— vlh (@coton_luver) October 17, 2017
The photo was published in an article at Deadspin, and was proffered as evidence that NFL fans’ consternation about protests – any protests – carried out during the national anthem is less than genuine.
It’s almost like the whole controversy actually has nothing to do with the flag and everything to do with racism.https://t.co/SLXYOQM9Wc
— Julie Goldberg (@juliegoldberg) October 17, 2017
The left-wing sports website writes:
This man at Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game respects the United States and its national anthem so much that he turned the country’s flag into a picnic blanket. Reader Marshall spotted the patriot, who is better than all of us, at the Jets’ stadium.
Deadspin noted the photographer’s commentary:
Basically, me and my friend were walking around the stadium sometime during the 3rd quarter. There is a huge tv screen by the food carts right inside the stadium where people gather to watch. We went over there to check it out and we saw him spread the flag out and sit down.
I thought it was too ironic so I snagged a picture. He sat on it for a few minutes before leaving.
The kicker? (No, not Chandler Catanzaro.) The T-shirt the bum wore while sitting on the American flag read, “I stand for the national anthem.”
The self-described “fact check” website Snopes weighed in on the photo (as if we needed it):
The image shows an unidentified man wearing a t-shirt bearing the phrase, “I STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM” under the logo for the New York Jets. The statement is a rebuke to the kneeling demonstrations that originated with former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick prior to the 2016 seaso, who began to kneel during the national anthem in order to bring attention to and protest police brutality.
Here’s the problem with this being an argument that fans angry about the protests don’t care about the national anthem.
First of all, it’s an argument by anecdote. As someone who was at Met Life when this exact Jets-Patriots game took place (and yes, I want my money back due to the bad refereeing), I can avouch that there were dozens of people wearing this T-shirt who stood for the national anthem.
Second of all, who is to say this photo wasn’t staged? The flag looks crisp and official; it is not like a blanket or a towel. Therefore, the person had to know that this was not meant to be put on the ground for sitting on. As many of us know, this violates the U.S. flag code:
The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
Even non-patriotic Americans know this, let alone someone who would actually buy and wear a T-shirt stating, “I stand for the national anthem.” Unless it was meant for staging a viral photo, like this one.
It may be true, but that’s an entirely different matter than it being genuine.
It certainly does not reflect the views of millions of citizens who stand for the national anthem and expect their fellow Americans to do likewise, because it’s a time to momentarily set aside our political views for the purpose of honoring the nation’s hard-won freedom.
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