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Why is a fan of the New England Patriots suing them over an American flag?

The irony, of a franchise called the Patriots damaging an American flag, is most definitely not lost on us in anyway.

Why is a fan of the New England Patriots suing them over an American flag?
Tim WarnerGetty Images

Normally the only time that fans and their teams clash is when results aren’t going their way, but in this case, it actually has to do with private property and damages caused to it.

Patriots fan Daniel Vitale sues the franchise.

According to recent reports, New England Patriots fan Daniel Vitale is currently in the process of suing the team over a U.S. flag that had been previously autographed by former Patriots star, Tom Brady. It is understood, that Vitale loaned the flag to the franchise in order to allow the organization to display it in their Hall of Fame. Vitale is apparently alleging that the team damaged the flag and as such it has now lost value.

Why is this American flag so special?

You’re probably wondering why this specific flag carries such value when there must be a massive quantity of memorabilia signed by the seven-time Super Bowl winner, but there is in fact something different about this one. As per reports, the flag actually flew over Foxboro Stadium during the 2001-2002 season, which was not only the last in the venue’s existence, but also the campaign during which the tragic events of 9/11 occurred. Indeed, having bought the flag in 2020, Vitale explained that he did so initially with the idea that he had acquired a significant investment, however, he did admit that it holds great personal value to him.

“I am a die-hard Patriots fan and have been for 40 years,” Vitale said. “That flag was so significant to me because it was right after 9/11 and it was the last regular-season game at Foxboro Stadium.” Signed by Brady with a blue Sharpie, the flag has since been described as “a priceless piece of sports memorabilia and historical artifact.”

How did the Patriots damage the American flag?

It was in June of 2021, when Vitale loaned the flag to the Patriots, however, just a few months later when the faithful fan learned of Tom Brady’s apparent intention to retire, he decided he wanted his flag back. At that point the Patriots returned it, but according to Vitale, the autograph was faded. As per the lawsuit he filed, Vitale alleges that the Patriots’ Hall of Fame did not have the lighting nor an adequate display case to protect the autograph. In addition, the suit also claims that there was a “significant gap” in the glass that allowed light and heat to pass through, which only further served to weather the signature.

What’s the situation between Daniel Vitale and the Patriots now?

As things stand, Vitale has alleged that the flag’s value has depreciated by a figure of anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to as much as $1 million. Needless to say, that’s not exactly precise. On the other hand, there is some context that adds a lot of weight to the situation. Vitale disclosed that his daughter is autistic and as such, the flag was part of a plan to finance full-time care for his child. The frustrated father and fan also went on to say that he only chose to file a lawsuit after repeated efforts to reach the franchise went unanswered. “I’ve tried to do everything I can to settle with these guys, but they don’t even want to talk to us,” Vitale said.


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