September 25, 2017 12:04 pm
Updated: September 27, 2017 5:53 pm

Rules about respecting the American flag are regularly broken — here are a few

WATCH: More coverage of tensions between NFL players and the president

A A

U.S. President Donald Trump claimed over the weekend that National Football League (NFL) players protesting by taking a knee are disrespecting the country’s national anthem and flag.

Story continues below

The controversial statements — made during a rally Friday in Alabama and in a series of tweets over the weekend — spurred widespread outrage online, and prompted even more protests during the weekend’s NFL games.

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s words on NFL anthem protest cut deep

Players have been peacefully protesting racism in the United States by taking a knee during the national anthem ahead of football games, a movement player Colin Kaepernick began by refusing to stand for the anthem at a game in 2016.

IN PICTURES: NFL players, owners take a stand against Donald Trump

According to the U.S. Code’s “Flag Code” section, which was unveiled in 1924, all those present during a national anthem, flag hoisting, lowering or passing, should stand at attention with their right hand over their heart. But the conduct does not mention specific rules surrounding kneeling or peacefully protesting.

WATCH: “I think the owners should do something about it,” Trump says on NFL players kneeling during anthem

While the president took issue with this form of “disrespect” toward the flag, rules on how Americans should act around their country’s flag are regularly broken.

Here are some ways Americans have “disrespected” the flag, according to the federal code.

Wearing the flag

“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,” the code reads.

That means flag shirts, scarves, swimsuits are all considered disrespectful, even though they are widely accepted.

Here’s Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wearing socks printed with the American flag to a meeting:

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke dons patriotic socks during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on the department’s FY2018 budget request on June 20, 2017.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty

Carrying the flag horizontally

The American flag should always be vertical, and never carried horizontally, but it is regularly carried that way during sporting events.

“The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free,” the code reads.

Here’s an example from this weekend:

Stadium veiw of Lincoln Financial Field during a fly over during a NFL football game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 24, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA.

Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

READ MORE: ‘Tradition’ of NFL players saluting the anthem dates back all the way to — 2009

Using the flag as a marketing prop

“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.”

But it often is — especially during Fourth of July celebrations. From packaging for fireworks to TV commercials, the American flag is regularly used.

Here’s a pack of fireworks being sold in California on July 3, 2014:

Fireworks are displayed at the Camp St. Andrews fireworks stand on July 3, 2014 in San Bruno, Calif.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Here are hot sauce bottles sold ahead of Trump’s inauguration in January:

Donald Trump hot sauce is seen for sale on the store shelf of Stars and Stripes store as President elect Donald Trump prepares to take the reins of power next week on Jan. 13, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Drawing on the flag

Changing the flag, or assigning an additional message to it, is strictly prohibited.

“The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.”

But this is often done, notably during protests.

A demonstrator wears an American flag that reads “Grab Back” during the Solidarity Rally for the General Strike in New York, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.

Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

And at Trump’s inauguration.

A supporter clutches a Donald Trump themed flag after he was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on the National Mall Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington D.C.

Mark Makela/Getty Images

Flags on athletic uniforms

Here’s another way sports often disrespect the flag. The U.S. flag is not meant to be displayed on athletic uniforms, but there are several examples of this happening.

“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.”

During the Olympic games, for instance:

USA’s Michael Phelps reacts after competing in the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016.

Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images

However, a flag patch is allowed for other uniforms, such as military officers, firemen and policemen.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.

Global News