The Boston Red Sox are about to make a huge fashion mistake, but there’s probably no stopping them.
Player Jonny Gomes saw this jacket and liked it so much he bought one for every member of the Red Sox team that’s going to go to the White House on Tuesday, and apparently his teammates either (a) have no fashion sense or (b) have no sense.
It’s a real looker:
Does it violate the U.S. Flag Code, the set of “suggestions” that guides the treatment of the flag?
For the answer, we turned to flag expert Richard Gideon of Pennsylvania:
This one is interesting. I can assure you that the veterans organizations won’t like it one bit. But here’s the problem; while this “flag jacket” is much larger than the helmet issue we discussed this past November, the question comes down to whether it violates 4 U.S. Code § 8 – Respect for flag, paragraph d of which states:
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
I don’t think it does. This jacket is not “The flag” – although it certainly might look like it to the casual observer. It does not have the requisite number of stars and stripes, nor does it have the proper aspect ratio.
Now if the Red Sox had purchased some regulation US flags and had a tailor make a suit jacket out of them then I would say a violation exists.
That’s not to suggest that Mr. Gideon is giving his blessing to the idea, he told me in our email exchange today. He thinks it’s tacky.
He also notes that there are no penalties for abusing the flag in the U.S. Flag code, except for one; one that applies only to the District of Columbia.
Any person who, within the District of Columbia, in any manner, for exhibition or display, shall place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing, or any advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America; or shall expose or cause to be exposed to public view any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign upon which shall have been printed, painted, or otherwise placed, or to which shall be attached, appended, affixed, or annexed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, or drawing, or any advertisement of any nature; or who, within the District of Columbia, shall manufacture, sell, expose for sale, or to public view, or give away or have in possession for sale, or to be given away or for use for any purpose, any article or substance being an article of merchandise, or a receptacle for merchandise or article or thing for carrying or transporting merchandise, upon which shall have been printed, painted, attached, or otherwise placed a representation of any such flag, standard, colors, or ensign, to advertise, call attention to, decorate, mark, or distinguish the article or substance on which so placed shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court.
The words “flag, standard, colors, or ensign”, as used herein, shall include any flag, standard, colors, ensign, or any picture or representation of either, or of any part or parts of either, made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States of America or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the United States of America.
But he gives the Red Sox a pass on this because, technically, they’re not going to Washington to sell anything.
The Red Sox are also bringing one for the president to wear. That should qualify as some sort of crime.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) March 26, 2014