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November 06, 2023

George Norcross threatens to sue Eagles after being removed from the Linc for hanging American-Israeli flag

Video shows security officers ejecting the New Jersey political powerbroker on Sunday afternoon and tearing down his display

Politics Eagles
Norcross Eagles Flag Provided Image/Hailee Paige

At Sunday's Eagles-Cowboys game, security at Lincoln Financial Field ejected George Norcross III from a luxury box for refusing to take down an American-Israeli flag he had displayed from the front row.

New Jersey political powerbroker George Norcross III was removed from Lincoln Financial Field during Sunday's Eagles-Cowboys game after he draped a flag that championed American support for Israel from the window of a luxury box. 

His removal occurred during the first half of the game and was partially caught on video by a fan sitting beneath the box in the lower level. The fan said she was taking a picture of the flag, which combined the American and Israeli flags into one, when she noticed commotion between Norcross and security officers. She didn't know who Norcross was at the time, but became alarmed by what she saw unfolding.

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"I was like, I'm a proud Jew. This is great to see, especially at the Eagles game," Hailee Paige told PhillyVoice on Monday. "I started recording and zoomed in so I could see more what was happening. I thought he was getting arrested."

Paige asked that she be identified by the name of her Instagram account, which does not include her last name. That's where she shared the video, which shows security officers speaking with an animated Norcross. The officers then can be seen pulling the flag from the edge of the box and leading Norcross away. 

The video spread rapidly after it was reposted on X, formerly Twitter.

Norcross is the chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew, a large insurance brokerage headquartered in Camden, and also chairs the board of trustees for Cooper University Health Care. He's the father of PhillyVoice Founder and Chairwoman Lexie Norcross and formerly was a co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer. He's also the brother of Democratic U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, who was part of a U.S. delegation that met with Israeli leaders the day after the Hamas terrorist attacks. 

In a statement Monday, Norcross said he was "forcibly removed and assaulted" by security staff at the Linc for refusing to remove the flag. They were not police officers and Norcross was not arrested.

"As a longtime passionate fan and season ticket holder, I have watched the Eagles/NFL make clear and strong statements on numerous important civil justice issues and ethnic and world conflicts, including supporting the people of Ukraine, so as a strong supporter of Israel — a country which was viciously attacked by the terrorist group Hamas less than a month ago — I thought it was an important statement to make."

The Eagles' policy on signs and banners prohibits items "that are obscene or indecent, not event-related, potentially offensive to other patrons, capable of blocking the views of other fans or otherwise deemed dangerous or inappropriate," according to the team's website. The policy explains that the stadium reserves the right to confiscate such items.

The Eagles said Monday that the content of the flag was not the reason Norcross was removed from the game. 

"Our stadium policies expressly prohibit signage containing any kind of non-game messaging to be hung from a stadium suite. Stadium staff repeatedly asked Mr. Norcross to remove the sign he hung outside of the suite," Eagles spokesperson Bob Lange said. "Instead of complying with the request, Mr. Norcross became physically and verbally abusive. Mr. Norcross was ejected from the stadium only after his abuse toward numerous stadium staff members continued. He was escorted from the suite level to the stadium’s ejection point, just as anyone else would be after engaging in abusive behavior in violation of stadium policy."

Christie Norcross FlagProvided Image/Gal Rappaport

The same flag that resulted in Norcross' ejection was shown behind former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during a pregame interview with former Eagle Ron Jaworski on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Norcross was seated in the box where he usually attends games. His guest was former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Cowboys fan, who was interviewed outside the stadium by Ron Jaworski before the game. During NBC Sports Philadelphia's pregame broadcast, the American-Israeli flag appeared in the background of the interview. Christie was seated next to Norcross when the security officers entered the box to remove him.

Before that step was taken, the Eagles had asked Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to speak with Norcross, as a friend, about the team's request to remove the flag, city spokesperson Sarah Peterson said in an email. Peterson declined to share any details about the conversation. 

Paige said she was disturbed by what she saw from her seat, although she acknowledged she wasn't inside the luxury box to hear what was being said between Norcross and the security officers.

"I posted it on my Instagram story just so everyone can see what just happened and how security is treating their own fans and people that pay a lot of money, especially for a suite like that," Paige said. "It just seemed kind of ridiculous. It's not like it's getting in the view of another person where they can't see what's happening in front of them. It was just an uneasy feeling seeing it."

Norcross said he was confused by the team's request to remove the flag, given the Eagles' public statement of support for Israel last month. The Eagles have strongly condemned antisemitism in the past, including after former wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted an image of a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler and showed admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie is Jewish. After that incident, Lurie chose to forgive Jackson instead of cutting him. 

Norcross suggested the NFL might have had a role in requiring the flag's removal. The game was nationally televised on FOX.

"It remains unclear why the Eagles/NFL believe that the US-Israeli flag should be deemed 'obscene or indecent' or otherwise inappropriate — which is what I was cited for — and should therefore be ripped down despite both issuing public statements strongly supporting Israel following the October 7th attacks," Norcross said.

Norcross is considering taking legal action against the Eagles, the NFL and the security company that removed him from the luxury box. 

On Monday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross called the situation "ironic" in light of Sunday's game being billed as the team's "Salute To Service" event. 

Paige said her video quickly got attention during and after the game, including from members of the Norcross family.

"I started getting a lot of reactions from it like, 'What is going on? Why did they do that? Why did they kick him out? Why are they treating him like that?'" Paige said. "Personally, I think there's a bunch of ways they could have handled that situation differently. Maybe security needs to be better trained so they know how to handle situations like this by talking things through before escalating it and embarrassing someone who didn't do anything wrong or hurt anyone, or put anyone in harm's way. I just think that type of treatment needs to get fixed."

Note: This story was updated to include a statement from the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Disclosure: George E. Norcross III is the father of PhillyVoice Founder and Chairwoman Lexie Norcross.