A New York Jets fan wearing a shirt in support of the national anthem is being criticized after he sat on the American flag on Oct. 15.
A fellow audience member spotted and photographed the man during an NFL game between the Jets and the New England Patriots, reports Deadspin.
The Jets fan was wore a T-shirt that read, "I Stand For The National Anthem," which the photographer says he found ironic.
"Basically, me and my friend were walking around the stadium sometime during the 3rd quarter," said the man, who is known only by his Deadspin username, Marshall. "There is a huge tv screen by the food carts right inside the stadium where people gather to watch. We went over there to check it out and we saw him spread the flag out and sit down. I thought it was too ironic so I snagged a picture. He sat on it for a few minutes before leaving."
Marshall's picture has since been shared widely and quickly sparked controversy.
Many commented on his hypocrisy.
"Really makes you think this backlash isn’t about respecting the country at all, doesn’t it?" mused one person in the Deadspin comments section.
"Is there anything more annoying than a die hard sports fan who doesn't have a clue what they're talking about?" wrote Nick Kessler for WRRV. "How about a hypocrite? There probably is but it's got to be high up there on the list."
"He clearly said he stands for the anthem, not the flag," wrote another. "Checkmate, libtards. In all seriousness, though, what a jabroni."
Others were simply upset by the act itself.
"Like I don’t care if you use the flag to make a point," wrote another commenter. "Protest it, burn it, do some political art, whatever. Using it to make a point shows that you at least recognize the power of it’s symbolism. Plus, if you are making a point using the flag, you’re usually asking for the country it represents to be better, which is a good thing. Sitting on the flag on the ground, however, shows you have absolutely no respect or acknowledgement of what the flag represents."
Fact-checking website Snopes noted the man's use of the flag could be a violation of the the U.S. Flag Code.
"The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise," the code reads, according to Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute website.
Sources: Deadspin, WRRV, Snopes, Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute / Featured Image: Underride/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Marshall via Deadspin via Snopes, Jnn/Wikimedia Commons