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Fan kicked out of stadium due to his American flag


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Associated Press

Published on: 09/21/04


Tampa, Fla. -- A Tampa Bay Buccaneers season ticket holder says he and his family were kicked out of the stadium because he hung an American flag from an upper-deck rail -- something he says he's done since the 2001 terrorist attacks.


But the team said it wasn't the flag that got Ken Hill of Pinellas Park and his friends removed from Raymond James Stadium during Sunday's game, but his belligerence toward the security officers who asked him to remove it. Hill denies mistreating the officers.


Hill, 40, had been hanging the flag from the third-level railing since Sept. 11, 2001. He said that once before was asked to remove the flag, but otherwise he had been allowed to hang it.


"I've even had police officers, when I put the flag up, shake my hand and say thanks," Hill said. "I could understand if it were an ugly banner or a sign painted on a sheet, but for goodness' sakes, this is the American flag."


Jeff Kamis, spokesman for the Buccaneers, said there is a long-standing policy prohibiting banners from being attached to the rails and it is intended to protect fans. Kamis said items attached to rails could fall on fans below or block other fans' views.


But Hill said the 2- by 4-foot flag was not blocking anyone's view and had no weights in it.


Hill and the police also give different accounts of Sunday's incident.


Hill said he told the security guard who told him to take down the flag that someone with the Tampa Sports Authority told him two years ago that he could hang it there.


Meanwhile, an off-duty Temple Terrace police officer working a security detail at the stadium started cutting the flag down. Fans around Hill responded angrily, he said, and someone called the officer a "bin Laden lover."


At that point, officers from the Tampa and Temple Terrace police departments told Hill they were escorting him out, Hill said. His wife and 15-year-old son went with him. His friends were also asked to leave.


Temple Terrace Police Chief Tony Velong described Hill's group as "very confrontational."


While Velong said he also feels patriotic about the flag, he said the officers were doing their jobs


Other fans not associated with Hill also got into trouble over the flag.


An off-duty U.S. Customs agent from Fort Myers who was attending the game as a fan was arrested after police said he pushed an officer called to help with the flag incident and punched two other officers. Tampa police had to stun him with a Taser before officers could restrain him, police said.


Customs officials say they are reviewing the agent's conduct.



Kenneth Hill, 40, of Pinellas Park, Fla., displays the flag he claims got him kicked out of Sunday's Seahawks-Bucs game.





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I'm as patriotic a the next guy (or girl) but this nonsense has gotten out of hand. I mean, c'mon. Isn't there some other, meaningful way one can display their patriotism other than hanging a flag from the stands at a football game?


If this guy was so patriotic he should of read federal statutes regarding the legal manner in which the flag must be displayed.

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