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I recently read a news report about an American flag incident Febuary 27th in Daphne, AL at the Sam’s Club National BBQ Competition  sponsored by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.  Daphne, AL just so happens to be current Edmonton Eskimo and former WVU Qb legend Pat White’s hometown.  Pat White was signing autographs at a Parkersburg, WV Go-Mart on Grand Central Ave earlier today.  So my wife Sussie and I decided to drive there for autographs and to find out if he had heard about the American flag incident.

It turned out he hadn’t heard about it.  I told Pat 6 or 8 of the vendors set up participating were told by an event organizer they had to remove American flags they were displaying and they all complied.  I asked Pat if he would have removed an American flag if he were there.  After pondering some he said, “That depends.  If it was in the rule book that I couldn’t have it up then I would take it down.  If there was no rule against it then they couldn’t tell me to take it down right?”.    I told Pat I wasn’t even sure why the organizer told them to do that either.  Pat replied, “Maybe we’re close to going into a state of marshal law right?”.  I said, “Yea, who knows”.  I asked Pat about his thoughts toward the event organizer or the policy.  Pat wanted to clarify, “About not flying the American flag?”.  He kind of shrugged his shoulders a couple times and said, “I mean, everybody’s entitled to their opinion, right?”.   I said, “Well, sure yea yea”.  Pat continued, “I can fly whatever flag I want to in the privacy of my own home”.  I nudged him a little more, “What about like even in a public place like if your out grilling somewhere in a contest or whatever?”.  I was a little funny at this point as he quipped, “Your recording me right now, huh?”.  I said yes.  At this point Pat starts to laugh toward Anthony Leonard, himself a former WVU football player.  Pat then looked directly into my camera phone and stated, “Fly your American flags wherever you want whether it’d be in America, in Canada, in Europe, in Africa.  Be proud to be an American.”

According to Fox News the incident involved pitmaster Jeff Petkevicius who said, “The sport of professional barbecue is extremely American and family oriented”. Jeff is the founder of “Give it to God” competition barbecue — a professional barbecue team that smokes meat and shares the love of Jesus. Both are noble missions.  Jeff rolled into town with his barbecue trailer and promptly hoisted Old Glory. Not too long after, one of the organizers of the event told Jeff to take down the flag.

“There were six or eight of us that had flags flying,” he said. “He went to each camp and told them to take the flag down and everybody did.”

The first rule of barbecue is low and slow – but the temperature started rising after Jeff complied with the directive.“The whole time I’m thinking –the reason I fly the flag is because I love America,” he said. “I love what it stands for. It’s a way to say to our current and former troops – thank you.”  So Jeff had a change of heart and decided to raise Old Glory – as an act of defiance.“It was a matter of saying there are things more important (than a barbecue competition),” he said. “If they want to kick me out – I’ll leave.”Jeff was not kicked out and he was not asked to take down the flag. As a matter of fact – after he re-raised the flag another competitor followed suit.

So why were the patriotic pitmasters told to take down the flags?  Jeff said they were told by event organizers that the flags violated a city ordinance in Daphne. But that allegation turned out to be false.  “No one from the city advised or asked anyone to take down flags of any type,” Mayor Dane Haygood said. “”We proudly and boldly display American flags and we encourage everyone in the community to do the same.”It turns out the order to remove the flags came from the tour director of the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

“As a measure of precaution, we asked everyone to take down any kind of signs or any kind of flags that were being displayed,” spokesman Mike McCloud said. “It turned out that some of those happened to be American flags.”

Several years ago McCloud said there had been a similar issue in Daphne when “there was some official request made to take things down.”  “We wanted to be careful,” he said. “We like doing barbecue events in the South and we wanted to make sure we follow any local ordinances and procedures.”  McCloud said after they further investigated the local ordinance – they eventually told the pitmasters they could fly their flags. So they investigated a local ordinance even though the city maintains there is no local ordinance banning the flying of American flags.

And why would the Kansas City Barbecue Society blame the city of Daphne – when in fact the city of Daphne did nothing wrong? It seems like they owe the mayor and the pitmasters an apology.  “I don’t know an apology is in order,” McCloud said. “We’ve explained to the barbecue teams what happened. The city did not approach our event and ask us to do anything. We were cautious in our suggestion to people to be aware of issues and once we told people that we understood it better – that it was okay to post their American flags.”The star-spangled banner has survived bombs bursting in air and the rocket’s red glare – only to be done-in by an ordinance that doesn’t exist.

There certainly seems to be a growing trend of American flag bans across the country these days.  In one case A 73-year-old veteran was threatened with foreclosure unless he paid an $8,000 dollar fine – all for displaying a small American flag in a plant pot outside his Sweetwater, Florida home.  In Ohio, an 86 year old woman was ordered by townhome management  to remove an American flag from her front porch.  In another instance, A San Diego State University sophomore was forced to remove an American flag from his balcony after apartment managers said foreigners could find the display offensive.  Here is another example, a Texan was told by his apartment manager that he must remove his American flag hanging on his patio because it’s a “Threat to the Muslim community”.

These are just a handful out of a growing plethora of American flag censorship here in the United States.  As Pat White suggested, maybe we are growing close to a state of marshal law.  Heck, maybe we’re already there.  All I know, is that we should be able to fly Old Glory anywhere we want to in America without having to wander if someone is going to demand we remove it for the sake of ethnicity, religion, or some other type of political correctness.  What do you think?

Pat White speaking with Caleb Hitt about the American flag

WVU Qb legend Pat White speaking with Caleb Hitt about American flag incident in Pat’s hometown Daphne, AL


Pat White and Anthony Leonard autograph session

Former WVU football player Anthony Leonard and Qb legend Pat White signing autographs

American flag incident

Caleb Hitt speaking with Pat White


Pat is promoting Rehydrate, so he asked my to post this promo.  White played as a quarterback for WVU from 2005 to 2009, from which he went on to play for the Miami Dolphins from 2009-2010. He was the MVP for the Fiesta Bowl, Senior Bowl, Meinicke Car Care Bowl, and the Gator Bowl. White was the only quarterback in NCAA history to win four consecutive bowl games including the Sugar Bowl. Additionally, he was the first team All-Big East player of the year as well as WVU MVP.


About Caleb Hitt

Caleb Hitt is a citizen journalist, co-host on Battle Of New Orleans Radio Show, and 9/11 blogger ( Follow him on twitter.