American Legion officers say that they were asked to remove their affiliate jackets by management at a Dave & Busters restaurant in Michigan. Their vests and leather jackets are adorned with patches of the American flag, the Prisoner of War flag and a bald eagle. Restaurant representatives claim that the jackets show evidence of gang affiliation and could be misinterpreted by other restaurant patrons, potentially disrupting the family-friendly atmosphere of the chain.
Victor Murdock and Adrienne Brown of the American Legion Riders Post 179 state that they complied with the request by either removing their jackets or turning them inside out. The veterans didn’t agree with the policy, but removed their attire out of respect for the rules of the establishment.
“I get it,” Murdock said. “Everyone has to have a policy to keep the unwanted element out. But an American flag and a bald eagle does not represent a gang element.”
Dave & Busters spokesperson, April Spearman, defended the company’s policy.
“Though we understand that the American Legion promotes a positive mission, for consistency reasons” she said “we cannot allow motorcycle jackets displaying patches or rockers,” Spearman said.
The company is unwilling to make an exception to its policy for veterans and members of the American Legion but claim that they value the support of military members. Spearman offered an official apology on behalf of the company and issued a statement.
“We are extremely grateful to all of our active military members and veterans and are honored to have them as valued guests in any of our locations,” the statement read. “Our policies are in no way meant to be disrespectful and we apologize for any frustration this may have caused.”