Randolf and Diana Scott are super fans of Utah’s Real Salt Lake soccer team, and they’re known for going all out at home games – Randolf with his hair in a brightly colored Mohawk, waiving the American flag.
But when the couple swapped out Old Glory for the Betsy Ross Flag, officials at Rio Tinto Stadium threatened to eject the season ticket holders for displaying the alleged “symbol of hate.”
“It’s a great flag, and I love it,” Diana told KSTU.
Randolf said his wife purchased the Betsy Ross flag to replace the American flag “because my other flag was kind of old and falling apart.”
The couple displayed the 13-starred flag, used in colonial America, at two home games in early August, which generated a lot of controversy online.
When the two returned with the flag for a third home game, staff at the stadium intervened and repeatedly asked them to put it away. The Scotts did as they were asked, though they insist there was no racist or evil motivations behind their actions.
“They kept telling us if he wasn’t going to take it down, we were going to be rejected from the game,” Diana said.
“He asked me – he’s like, ‘So what’s the purpose of the flag?’” Randolf said. “I was like, ‘Well, cause we love America.’”
The incident follows about a month after a national controversy surrounding Nike’s decision to recall special edition shoes featuring the Betsy Ross flag on the heels, a move prompted by Colin Kaepernick, former NFL quarterback turned social justice warrior.
Kaepernick thrust the NFL into racial politics when he opted to kneel during the National Anthem to protest alleged police brutality, prompting other high-paid athletes to follow suit.
Diana Scott said she was aware of the controversy when she came across the Betsy Ross flag, and it factored into her decision to purchase.
“It just kind of bothered me that (Nike was) going to take it away,” she said.
Apparently, Real Salt Lake Chief Business Officer Andy Carroll sides with Nike and Kaepernick, alleging the Betsy Ross flag is now used by racists, so everyone else can no longer display it.
“Recently, and very controversially as well as surprising to us, the colonial flag has been adopted as a symbol for hate groups,” Carroll wrote in a prepared statement to KSTU. “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.”
Folks on Reddit chimed in on Real Salt Lake flag ban, with at least one local defending Randolf Scott against allegations of racism.
“He’s a ref and player for a men’s league I play in, and I’ve never heard him be racist or foul mouthed at all,” MrReesety posted. “His wife isn’t even white.”
Others, meanwhile, pushed back against the idea that society should cater to racists who redefine historic symbols to push an agenda.
“ … The revolutionary flag is a symbol of the birth of the United States and it’s upsetting to see it used by racists,” d2winks added. “But just because they have started using it doesn’t mean that it changes what it represents to most Americans.”
That’s precisely the point Randolf Scott said he was hoping to convey with his flag.
“When people see me or Diana with this flag, I hope they can understand that it’s about the freedoms we have here in America,” he said. “They legacy that America has.”