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Seahawks flag with Confederate flag design stirs up controversy at Washington restaurant

A Tacoma, Washington, restaurant is in hot water with some of the 12s over an altered Seahawks flag. A customer said when she took to Facebook to complain about apparent Confederate markings on the flag, she was kicked out of the restuarant. 

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The owner of Tacoma’s West End Pub and Grill said he did not intend for the flag to represent the Confederacy and said this is the first time he's heard a complaint after having it up for four years.

Leah Ford said she’s been to the bar multiple times over the past few years, but on Thursday, she suddenly noticed the altered Seahawks flag.

“I just happened to look up and I saw it there, and I was just really shocked,” Ford said. “To me, I could definitely see the resemblance to something that, you know, for me is not OK, whether it be oppression, racism, rape, murder, slavery,” she said.

Ford said she asked to talk with a manager.

“I wanted to have a conversation about, 'Hey, what do you think this flag represents?' Because I feel that it’s a negative representation of the Seahawks,” Ford said.

But she said, instead, a manager suggested she take the issue to social media.

“He said, ‘I’m not taking it down. I’m not getting a ladder. if you have a problem with it, you should post about it on Facebook,’” Ford said.

Ford said she posted a picture on Facebook and that post, she said, led to another manager kicking her and her companion out before they finished their meals. 

“He said, 'No, leave. Get out. Don’t come back,'” Ford said. 

Posts about the incident are being shared hundreds of times and generating hundreds of comments, with some people posting side-by-side comparisons of the Confederate flag with the Seahawks flag at the bar. 

Corey O’Brien is a longtime customer at the bar. He says he’s half black and doesn’t see a problem with the Hawks flag. 

“I see the Seahawks flag with the X through it. That’s been here for four years; no one has said anything about it,” he said. “This is not a racist bar.”

“I can definitely see a resemblance. You’d be arguing against logic if you were to say there was no resemblance at all,” said customer Adam Walker. 

The bar owner, who didn’t want to talk on camera, said he never intended the flag to be connected to the Confederate flag in any way. He said he decided to take the flag down to avoid the controversy. 

Ford said she hopes the dialogue will continue.

“It’s great he took it down. It’s sad we weren’t able to have a conversation,” she said. “There are so many times when people don’t have a voice. And when you have an opportunity to speak out, you absolutely should.”

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