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Graney: The truth behind the buried Chiefs flag at Allegiant Stadium

Gerard DeCosta is always going to plead the fifth. Always going to let you believe it might have happened without saying it. Always going to keep you guessing.

He is the one who supposedly buried a Kansas City Chiefs flag near what is the 50-yard line at Allegiant Stadium during construction of the facility. The flag story has risen to a national level of curiosity again as the Chiefs are set to meet the 49ers in Super Bowl 58 on Feb. 11.

People want to know if DeCosta really did commit what all Raiders fans would consider a mortal sin. If the lifelong Chiefs fan really pulled off such a (creative and daring) move.

You can imagine how the silver and black faithful feel about being reminded of such a tale, given the Chiefs are about to play a postseason game — the biggest one of all — before the Raiders ever sniff a playoff atmosphere in Allegiant Stadium.

You can imagine the anger and bitterness.

This is how it all began: A Chiefs fan named Chris Scherzer in 2017 posted a Facebook photo of a man wearing a white hard hat and dark glasses. He was holding a red and gold Chiefs banner.

A Chiefs fan named Chris Scherzer posted a photo of a man wearing a white hardhat and dark glas ...
A Chiefs fan named Chris Scherzer posted a photo of a man wearing a white hardhat and dark glasses and holding a red and gold Chiefs banner with the inscription “Chiefs Kingdom” on his Facebook page. (Chris Scherzer/Facebook)

The post read: “Chiefs Kingdom. Flag buried in dirt, encased in concrete, with a stadium built on top of it. Chiefs 1, Raiders 0. Las Vegas.”

But one person is here to tell you it never happened. That the site is safe from any piece of vinyl from the Raiders’ rivals.

Spoiler: The whole thing was a joke.

“You have to remember that my guys poured all the concrete around the stadium,” Local 872 union leader Tommy White told the Review-Journal. “We also worked with the excavating crew. We also had members who did the dynamite to blow up the infrastructure to dig down.

“There is no way anyone could have dug a hole and stuck a flag in there and got concrete over it because my guys were always on site.”

Or, as my intrepid sports editor Allen Leiker surmised: “The flag is buried right next to Jimmy Hoffa.”

White and DeCosta, who’s now living and working in his native Hawaii, became good friends over the (non) incident. DeCosta didn’t return a message seeking comment and is said to have had his fill of inquiries about it. But that hasn’t stopped him from always holding out a carrot of temptation.

“He has never said in any of his interviews that he buried the flag,” White said. “He told me he never did. But you’re talking about Raiders fans. This is their castle. I asked him if he did it because I needed to know and he said that all he did was hold the flag up for a picture. Then I asked him for the flag and he gave it to me. I’ve got it.

“He didn’t want to deal with Chiefs fans, so he told me he will always take the fifth when asked about it.”

A practical joke

The story has produced some humorous responses across social media. In one, a masked Raiders fan claimed to have dug up the (non) buried flag, holding one soaked in dirt on a Facebook post.

As for DeCosta, many wanted him fired over the incident. It didn’t happen.

“The most they could do was keep me banned from working at the stadium,” DeCosta told a Missouri-based television station in 2019.

“The funny part is, my whole family are Raiders fans. They thought the whole incident was funny. I always talk a lot of crap about the Raiders, so when I went out to the site, I was looking forward to that.”

And then he took a photo holding up a Chiefs flag.

And then he didn’t bury it.

The red and gold practical joke that won’t die.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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