FACT CHECK: Did Steelers Coach Say Kneeling For Anthem Shows Hatred For America?
A post shared on social media purports National Football League (NFL) Head Coach Mike Tomlin claimed that kneeling during the anthem is hateful to America.
The claim is inaccurate. The post stems from a satirical article.
U.S Park Police officer Alexander Roy was charged with involuntary manslaughter after he accidentally fatally shot a fellow officer while they were off-duty at a gathering, NBC News reported. Reports indicate Roy pulled the trigger on a weapon he thought was not loaded and hit fellow officer Jesse Brown Hernandez in the “upper body.”
The Facebook post purports Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin suggested kneeling for the anthem is unethical. The post shares a photo of Tomlin in juxtaposition with players kneeling.
The text overlay reads, “Coach Mike Tomlin Says Anthem Kneelers ‘Hate America’ and Will Be Fired On Spot.”
The claim is inaccurate. There is no credible news report that suggests Tomlin made this claim. The claim stems from a satirical website called, SpaceXMania. The article features a satire label at the top of the piece. The website shares a disclaimer that self identifies as parody, “Please note that the article under the category ‘SATIRE’ are satirical in nature and are not meant to be taken seriously. These articles are meant to be humorous and are often entirely made up.”
There have been other parody websites that have written similar stories recently about Tomlin firing players for kneeling during the anthem. Check Your Fact debunked the story at the time. Tomlin has shared his support for players who kneel during the anthem. ESPN reported in 2020 that Tomlin told players if they kneel, they will have his support and the support of the Steelers organization. (RELATED: Did Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy Suspend A Player For Kneeling During Anthem?)
This is not the first piece of misinformation surrounding the NFL that has been shared online. Check Your Fact debunked a claim that the coach of the New York Jets wore a flag in support of a terrorist organization.