Packers revise flag policy

After being criticized by some veterans groups, the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday announced they would no longer be lowering American flags to half-staff to mourn fallen members of the organization.

The team lowered the flags after Sunday's death of Reggie White. That symbol historically has been reserved for members of the military, deaths of prominent figures such as a president or events that cause widespread national mourning.

"At the suggestion of many veterans, in the future when honoring a member of our organization, we will lower a Packers flag to half-staff," the team said in a news release.

"We lowered the flags atop Lambeau Field Sunday in memory of Reggie White and the contributions he made to this franchise and our community. It is a practice we've followed for years as a way of honoring members of our organization and their contributions to the Packers. We did the same for Ray Nitschke, Don Hutson, Tony Canadeo, Mark Hatley and others."

No public criticism was heard in those instances, and the Packers continued their tradition in the wake of White's death.

However, Tom Robinson, commander of Post 2126 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Menasha, Wis., and Ron Sager of the Fox Valley Vietnam Veterans Association spoke out against the Packers' observance in an interview with The Associated Press.

"As much as I appreciated Reggie White, not only for his football playing but his character off the field, I don't believe the U.S. flag should be flown at (half-staff) for anyone unless it is authorized by our government," Sager said. "It sort of denigrates the service of those in Iraq and Afghanistan who have lost their lives."

The team apologized for "any misunderstandings" and thanked veterans for the "suggestions led to our new policy.


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