The Washington Capitals and Capital One Arena came under fire Friday afternoon after two fans said they weren’t allowed in for the Caps-Hurricanes game due to bringing a Ukrainian flag.
The two fans, Anastasiia Markova and Margaryta Suvorova, are Ukrainian and work at DC. They posed with their flags outside one of the entrances to Capital One Arena after being turned away.
The Instagram story photo was posted by blog friend Antoinette Cordova, who was the 2013 Miss USA of the District of Columbia.
Antoinette’s friend Anastasiia wrote:
Came to a hockey game with Ukrainian flags and was banned from the stadium. Shame!!
By security personnel: @capitalone bans Ukrainian symbolism in the arena!! #shame
Antoinette added her own comment at the top of the image which read:
As many of you know, I’m a die-hard @Capitals fan! Love them.
Tonight I was informed that my friends were kicked out by @CapitalOneArena for bringing the Ukrainian flag.
I have seen fans bring flags, posters and memorabilia to games over the many years I have attended.
It’s not correct ! Extremely shameful really.
The fans The following policies were then presented by Capital One Arena staff which included the text “No signs for Ukraine and Russia”.
Capital One Arena, via its Twitter account, responded to the controversy by asking fans to review its security policies which allow “national flags at events as long as they do not obstruct views or impede the ‘gaming experience’. The comment suggests the arena was distancing itself from the staff’s decision.
Fans attending events at Capital One Arena – please review our safety policies here: https://t.co/dpMJk5kU3u pic.twitter.com/PvpNhTOUFI
— Capital One Arena (@CapitalOneArena) March 4, 2022
The Capitals made their policy clear to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
Confiscation of any Russian/Ukrainian sign by @CapitalOneArena last night there was “specific guidance in line with arena signage policy,” I was told. (Attached)
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) March 4, 2022
The fan experience appears to be an isolated incident where arena security interpreted the updated policy differently than others.
During the Capitals-Hurricanes game, a Ukrainian flag was pressed against the glass during warm-ups next to a sign disparaging Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is not known if the sign was later confiscated.
Seen on the glass during the warm-ups of the Caps-Hurricanes game
— RMNB (@rmnb) March 3, 2022
A fan with a Russian flag was also seen in his seat during the game.
Washington Spotkanie Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes. Ochrona odebrała ukraińskie flagi kibicom, którzy chcieli zamanifestować solidarność podczas spotkania. Kapitanem jednej z drużyn jest Rosjanin. Na Instagramie ma nawet zdjęcie z Poutinem. Rosyjskich nie zabrano flag. pic.twitter.com/xBlu5ZgAV6
— Paweł Żuchowski (@p_zuchowski) March 4, 2022
Meanwhile, during Monday’s Capitals-Leafs game, a fan waved a Ukrainian flag on the glass during the warm-up.
“In this case, two young women and I have come together to support our Ukrainian brothers and sisters as they continue to fight for freedom,” Antoinette said. “We cannot allow the Ukrainian voice to be frozen. The hockey community has always welcomed the abandonment of the flags of many nations. At this time in history, the Ukrainian flag should not be banned, it should be flown high as it bears witness to the freedoms we all cherish and the humanity we all share.
Main photo: Elizabeth Kong/MRNB