Man Suing New England Patriots for Allegedly Ruining Tom Brady-Autographed American Flag

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo By Streeter Lecka)

An NFL fan is reportedly suing the New England Patriots for damaging his Tom Brady autographed American flag. 

According to Yahoo! Sports, the fan, identified as Daniel Vitale, is planning to take legal action against the New England Patriots for allegedly ruining the Tom Brady autographed American flag. The team ruined the flag by using improper displaying techniques. This notably faded the Brady autograph and possibly reduced the flag’s value up to $1 million. 

The media outlet reported that according to the lawsuit’s documents, the autographed flag is “very” rare and was a flag that flew at Foxboro Stadium in 2001. This was the same year that Tom Brady took over as starting quarter for the New England Patriots and the final year of the stadium being used. On the flag, there is a patch that commemorated the final season at the stadium. It also included the date and game of when the flag flew. Vitale’s flag flew in the stadium on December 22, 2001, against the Miami Dolphins. Years later, Tom Brady autographed the flag. Both the flag and autograph are authenticated. 

New England Patriots Hall of Fame Made a Deal to Display the American Flag With Tom Brady’s Autograph 

In 2021, the Pro Football Hall of Fame decided not to display the flag at its establishment. However, the New England Patriots Hall of Fame became interested. Vitale and the Hall of Fame struck an agreement. The Hall of Fame allegedly presented itself as a museum and the flag would be a loan. Kurt Evans, who was named the flag’s curator, allegedly said that the flag would be handled and displayed “using accepted professional library and museum techniques and standards.”

Evans also allegedly reassured the flag’s owner that the Hall of Fame was considered a museum. The flag would also be handled with care. That was why Vitale decided, due to the language of the agreement and talking to Evans, to not get insurance. 

In November 2021, which was five months after the loan agreement was reached, Vitale and his fiancee stopped at the New England Patriots Hall of Fame to see the flag. However, the flag wasn’t on display. Evans apparently then assured Vitale that the flag was fine. But the flag owner noted that the autograph on a different display item was severely faded. 

Evans had an interesting answer when Vitale questioned him about the Hall of Fame’s care of items. “I know, I’ve been telling them for years that they need to switch out the lights and glass,”  Evans allegedly said. “It is not the right stuff for this type of display.” 

New England Patriots Hall of Fame Reveals There is ‘Slight Fading’ on the Flag

In January 2022, Vitale said that Evans contacted him and said there was “slight fading” to the autograph. This was apparently due to the flag’s contact with air. He also said that the lighting and glass were all museum-quality. 

The court documents have not revealed the amount of money that Vitale is seeking. But he is seeking damages, interest, and cost for the Hall of Fame’s breach of contract. He is also suing for the establishment’s fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation.