The NFL kicked off its season with controversy over how the American flag was used as part of pregame ceremonies.
During the playing of the national anthem before the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium, a mammoth flag replica was unveiled on the field.
While that is a common sight before games, it is a violation of the U.S. flag code, which reads, “The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”
More disturbing to some viewers, there was also a major change this time: Instead of the flag’s usual rectangular shape, this version had been cut to resemble the outline of the continental United States.
— Roc Nation (@RocNation) September 9, 2022
Many on social media expressed disappointment over the NFL’s treatment of the flag.
Such a damn shame that @nfl has such disregard for the flag code.
— Bishop of Blitzburgh (@sto_sr) September 9, 2022
After all the nfl/ flag history they roll out one that’s not up to flag code 🤦♂️
— South Spokana Santa (@Freg_S) September 9, 2022
.@NFL a league that booted out a player for kneeling during the anthem opens the season by violating the flag code, creating a continent-shaped American flag. Oh, and hey guys, there are two states that you ignored in that presentation.
— dooner (@doonerADG800) September 9, 2022
— SocraToMe (he,him) (@SocraToMe) September 9, 2022
The NFL should have someone on staff study the flag code of the US. Terrible display.
— Jeff Jones (@jljsrwa) September 9, 2022
— Robert Reid (@reidontravel) September 9, 2022
If you are still upset with @Kaepernick7 for kneeling during th national anthem, but don’t care that the @NFL desecrated an American flag for tonight’s @BuffaloBills v @RamsNFL pregame; you’re an idiot.
— Kevin McAuley (@thekevinmcauley) September 9, 2022
One fan said part of the lower 48 appeared to be lopped off.
Is this the greatest disrespect for the Lions ever. They leave the state of Michigan off the flag. Really, is this the league or the Rams and Stafford trolling us🤦♂️. Also, not sure by rule your allowed to alter the flag. pic.twitter.com/NNyvoSfxao
— Greg Kampe (@KampeOU) September 9, 2022
Once again, the league also embraced social justice messaging.
“During Thursday’s Kickoff game, players from both the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams will wear helmets featuring ‘Choose Love’ as part of the league’s social justice helmet decal messaging this season, which will also include other phrases such as ‘End Racism,’ ‘Stop Hate’ and ‘Inspire Change’ among others,” the league said in a news release Wednesday.
The NFL said the “Choose Love” message was added this year in response to “an uptick in hate crimes and gun violence around the country.”
Focus on what matters: Love ❤️
— NFL (@NFL) September 9, 2022
On the field, Buffalo defeated the Super Bowl champion Rams 31-10.
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