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Newz Forum: BASEBALL: Foulke told NO to American flag on cap

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posted on Jul, 3 2004 @ 05:47 PM
Boston closer Foulke agrees to no longer wear cap with U.S. flag patch

NEW YORK (AP) -The flag flap is over for Keith Foulke. After a personal letter from commissioner Bud Selig, plus talks between the players' union and baseball management as the Fourth of July approached, Foulke reluctantly packed away his Boston cap that featured a patch of the American flag.

"I still think I should be able to wear it," the Red Sox reliever said this week at Yankee Stadium. "But I don't want to do anything that would cost the team."

Foulke was the only player in the majors with his own such hat. The son of a U.S. Air Force man, he wore it most of the season to show his support for the American troops in Iraq.

"It's not like I was trying to call attention to myself," he said. "I'm a patriotic person, and it's just a personal thing I wanted to do. It was only about an inch square, on the left side, and a lot of people didn't even notice it."

But the commissioner's office saw it. Soon after, Foulke said, he began getting letters from Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations, saying the cap violated baseball's standard uniform code. According to the sport's labor agreement, players cannot make individual changes to hats, jerseys and anything else they wear. The issue came up during the 2002 NL playoffs when San Francisco pitcher Jason Christiansen was told he could not continue writing Darryl Kile's number "57" on his cap in tribute to his late former teammate.

And in this case, the rule made Foulke's cap illegal.

"It's the definition of a uniform that we're going after," said Watson's assistant, Matt McKendry.

About two weeks after Foulke found out baseball planned to put Spider-Man 2 ads on the bases "that really chapped me," he said he sent a letter to Selig explaining his position. The commissioner wrote back in a note dated June 3.

"I agree with and admire the patriotic sentiments expressed in your letter," Selig wrote. "While I cannot imagine anyone having an objection to our American flag on a player's hat, we feel it is crucial that we maintain this across-the-board policy. Unfortunately, if we allow one player to add the flag, our ability to enforce the rule will be diminished", he added.

While baseball told Foulke that he could be fined or suspended, it did not threaten him with an immediate penalty or ever impose one. Yet it wanted a resolution before too long, so the union and management tried to find one. Ultimately, this was the best option baseball presented to Foulke:

Pay a $1,000 fine for every game he wore the hat, donating the money to a charity of his choosing, most likely one related to the military.

Stop wearing the hat after July 4.

Agree to avoid criticizing baseball's position on the issue.

"That didn't sound very good to me," Foulke said. "It was only going to be for another eight or nine games, and then I couldn't even talk about it."

Still, Foulke understood Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein's thoughts on the matter.

"Theo didn't want the league to have bitter feelings toward the team because of me," he said.

On June 24 in a game against Minnesota at Fenway Park, Foulke wore his special hat one last time. He doesn't plan to put it on again, not wanting to risk raising any problems for the Red Sox. This Sunday, though, Foulke will have an American flag on his cap so will all major leaguers as part of baseball's Fourth of July celebration.

"I think it's great that we do it on opening day and July Fourth and 9-11," Foulke said. "But soldiers are fighting and dying every day, and I think I should be allowed to honor them by wearing that hat."


posted on Jul, 3 2004 @ 09:30 PM
i dont get wy they wont let him wear the hat, but o well its baseball.

posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 11:54 AM
Give me a break.

God forbid the guy wants to show his support for all the troops putting their life on the line so we can play and watch silly games like baseball. That's just ridiculous.

posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 01:51 PM
They must all be wearing them today for Independence Day.

I'm switching between the Phillies-Orioles game and the Red Sox-Braves game and all four teams have small American flags on their caps.


posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 02:15 PM
Yeah they are all allowed to wear them today.

Seems a bit petty to me, i don't see why he can't wear it. I mean they let players in sporting events wear black armbands when a playing in that sport dies as a mark of respect.

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