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NFL 2022 season begins with new US flag controversy

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The National Football League’s 2022-23 season kicked off this weekend, and along with a fresh season came a fresh flag controversy for the organization, after the kickoff game’s introduction appeared to break US flag code.

The first game of the season was played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, between the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills. Before the game, a large US flag was brought onto the field, being held horizontally, parallel to the field. The flag was also cut into the shape of the contiguous United States.

Official US flag code requires the flag to always be carried vertically or perpendicular to the ground, never horizontal or flat. It also prohibits the cutting or altering of the US flag in any way.

Social media users and NFL fans were quick to comment on the gaffe. “The NFL should have someone on staff study the flag code of the US. Terrible display,” wrote one Twitter user.

Others were quick to point out the hypocrisy of the NFL disregarding flag code after its ousting of Colin Kaepernick in 2017 after he protested the national anthem before games as a racial equality display.

“If you are still upset with @Kaepernick7 for kneeling during the national anthem, but don’t care that the @NFL desecrated an American flag for tonight’s @BuffaloBills v @RamsNFL pregame; you’re an idiot,” wrote another Twitter user.

In 2017, Sports Illustrated pointed out in 2017 that the NFL routinely breaks US flag code in many ways, including using the flag on uniforms, and letting the flag touch the ground. The NFL has not commented on Thursday’s incident.

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