The flag was draped from the upper deck of the stadium just before the sixth inning during the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners game. But about two minutes after the flag was revealed, a fan sitting in a section directly below it ripped the flag down.
Dion Cini—a military veteran and self-described conservative—confirmed to The Epoch Times that he was behind the flag stunt. The veteran had previously made similar stunts and was even banned from California’s Disneyland for unfurling a “Trump 2020” flag on a riverboat at the amusement park.
Cini also made headlines in March when he announced he was considering legal action against a New York City bar for forcing him to leave the premises because he was wearing a MAGA hat. The veteran alleged that he was berated by several employees for wearing the hat and was asked to leave for refusing to take it off.
The veteran had live-streamed the moments on Facebook before unfurling the flag, but stopped filming after he was approached by a security guard who asked him what was on the flag.
“World champion,” Cini replied.
The security guard told him it was fine for Cini to show the flag as long as it was not derogatory or contained advertising.
Cini said that after he unfurled the flag, nobody behind him knew what was on the flag but eventually somebody below pulled on the flag.
“Somebody pulled it. Pulled it really hard. They got it out of my hand but the other guy with me, Mark Sweeney, … held on to it as hard as he could,” Cini said.
He said he revealed the flag in between innings in order to not interfere with the game, but he said he was asked to leave the stadium after the incident.
Although he was asked to leave, Cini managed to get his flag back. In a Facebook post, he posted a photo of himself with the “Trump: 2020” flag with the caption, “Hey Cora, got my flag back. Only 2080 more days!” and hashtag #OperationFlagDrop.
Cini said he unfurled the flag at Fenway in response to several Boston Red Sox members rejecting President Donald Trump’s invitation to the White House to honor them for winning the 2018 World Series.
“Half the team went to visit Trump the day before. So I decided to remind them who’s president,” Cini said. “They always say you don’t put politics into sports. You shouldn’t bring the flag there. [But] half the team going to the White House is putting politics ahead of your team and not only that you’re supposed to go as a team.”
“I unified them by putting the flag up,” he added.
At the ceremony on May 9, Trump said, “Each Red Sox player is a shining example of excellence, living out an American sporting tradition that goes back many generations.”
“Through every pitch, inning, game, and series, the 2018 Red Sox never gave up and never backed down. You always played like champions,” he added.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora and players Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts were not in attendance at the event.
Cora told reporters last week cited Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria that hit his native Puerto Rico in 2017 as the reason for not going.
“The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go,” Cora said, reported Fox News. “That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.”
With additional reporting by NTD News reporter Jeremy Sanberg.