Fan sues Patriots, says they ruined his Tom Brady-signed flag

BOSTON — The New England Patriots irreparably damaged a US flag signed by Tom Brady by improperly displaying it in the team’s Hall of Fame at Gillette Stadium, the flag’s owner alleges in a federal lawsuit.

After the flag was displayed for a few months, Brady’s blue Sharpie signature had significantly faded, reducing the flag’s value by up to $1 million, according to the lawsuit filed against the team in Boston on Wednesday.

A Patriots spokesman said Thursday the team had no immediate comment.

The flag, described as a “priceless sports memorabilia and historical artifact,” waved over the now-closed Foxboro Stadium on December 22, 2001.

Daniel Vitale, 42, of Hampstead, New Hampshire, bought the flag as an investment in 2020.

“I’m a die-hard Patriots fan and have been for 40 years,” Vitale told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. “That flag was so important to me because it was right after 9/11 and it was the last game of the regular season at Foxboro Stadium.”

Vitale bestowed the Patriots Hall of Fame flag in June 2021 after being assured it would be properly maintained. He wanted it back a few months later because he thought the value might skyrocket since Brady, who now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was considering retirement at the time, according to the lawsuit.

Vitale’s youngest daughter has autism, and the family wanted to hire a full-time nanny to look after her, he said.

But by the time Vitale got the flag back, Brady’s signature had faded.

Neither the lighting in the Hall of Fame nor the glass of the display case were designed to protect signed sports memorabilia, and there was “a significant gap in the glass directly in front of the flag for unfiltered light and heat to pass through,” the statement said Lawsuit estimating the loss in value at several hundred thousand dollars to one million dollars.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent misrepresentation and is seeking a trial by jury and unspecified damages.

The lawsuit was the last resort. “I’ve tried to do everything in my power to come to terms with these guys, but they don’t even want to talk to us,” Vitale said. Fan sues Patriots, says they ruined his Tom Brady-signed flag

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