America's Team needs American flag at stadium, Cowboys fans say

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Armando Palacios agrees with the growing chorus of Dallas Cowboys fans who believe team owner Jerry Jones needs a permanent spot for a U.S. flag inside his nearly $1.2 billion stadium.

It's not enough for some of the passionate followers of America's Team that the stars and stripes occasionally cover the entire field. That was the case before the first regular-season game at cavernous Cowboys Stadium in September and might be again Thursday for the Thanksgiving game against the Oakland Raiders.

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Nor is it the same, in the minds of some fans, to have the flag waving on 25,000 square feet of video boards.

The frustration of fans is buzzing, from political radio talk shows to newspaper letters to the editor. However, Palacios believes a flag eventually will be permanently displayed at Cowboys Stadium.

"I think Mr. Jones will find a way," said Palacios, a 48-year-old airline worker from Arlington.

Jones didn't seem so inclined when he was asked about the flag issue on his radio show last week. He reminded listeners that the flag flew every day near one of the stadium's plazas. He said the team preferred to use live color guards and the giant video board touted as the world's largest high-definition television.

Jones bristled a bit when he was told that Arlington Mayor Bob Cluck believed there should be a permanent flag inside the stadium.

"He can go out there and take a look at the flag there at Randol Mill (Road) and Legends Way," Jones told Dallas-Fort Worth station KRLD-FM. "They're waving there every day."

Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels didn't return e-mail and phone messages from The Associated Press.

The old Texas Stadium had a permanent flag, although it wasn't easily visible squeezed between two advertising boards. The team's five Super Bowl banners and another commemorating Emmitt Smith's NFL rushing record haven't found their way to the new stadium, either.

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Jones said he wasn't sure there would be a way to display any banners because of the size of the facility and logistical issues such as the retractable roof and sight lines toward the roof that are diminished by the huge video board hanging over the middle of the field.

"We have the ability to put things in and around that stadium that is a hundred times what we had at Texas Stadium," Jones said. "But you do it digitally."

The trigger for the debate came two weekends ago when there was no flag displayed during the national anthem for a high school game. Neither school has a color guard, and Daniels told Dallas-Fort Worth television station WFAA that a miscommunication prevented the flag from being shown on the video board.

Kevin Ozee, athletic director for Southlake Carroll High School, said some fans asked him about the missing flag after the game against Colleyville Heritage. But he said it wasn't a major issue for the district.

"A lot is being made of this," Ozee said. "Not to say that's not important, but there are other things we can be focusing on -- our troops and things like that."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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