Post claiming Deion Sanders benched players for anthem kneel is satire

The claim: Colorado coach Deion Sanders benched two players for kneeling during the national anthem

A Sept. 26 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) shows a photo of University of Colorado football coach Deion Sanders talking to a player.

 

“Deion Sanders benched two star players for kneeling during the national anthem,”

 

Many commenters took the post seriously.

 

“Coach Prime gets my approval,” said one, referring to Sanders’ nickname.

 

“Good for him!!!!!!!! we’ve got to stand up for what’s GOOD and RIGHT,” wrote another.

 

The Facebook post was shared more than 1,000 times in two days.

 

 

 

Our rating: Satire

Both the publisher of the post and a spokesperson for the University of Colorado say the claim is not true. It was posted and shared by a satirical account that carries a disclaimer stating, “Nothing on this page is real.”

 

Claim posted by satirical account

In just a short time at Colorado, Sanders has emerged as one of the biggest stories of the college footballseason – with a profile on “60 Minutes” and a brief appearance in the national rankings on his resume.

 

 

 

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“It’s a false report,” he said, pointing out that in college football, teams customarily remain in the locker room when the anthem is played.

 

The claim was posted by an account called America – Love It Or Leave It, which describes itself as a subsidiary of the America’s Last Line of Defense satirical network. A disclaimer in the account’s bio states, “Nothing on this page is real.”

 

Christopher Blair, the website’s creator, confirmed the post was satire and was not true in an email to USA TODAY.

 

A closer examination of the post also reveals it to be a fabrication.

 

 

The post also includes a quote in a large typeface that states, “Appreciate what God gave you.” But beneath it, in a much smaller font, is an attribution not to Sanders but to “Some white dude who peaked in middle school.”

 

The national discussion over whether a player should stand or kneel during the anthem began in 2016, when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest racial inequality. Since then, athletes across sports who protested in similar ways have at times faced public criticism.

 

Anthem protests have been a frequent source of satire and misinformation. USA TODAY previously debunked claims that Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin “fired” two players for protesting and that he banned kneeling.

 

 

Sanders previously expressed support for Kaepernick while also emphasizing in a 2017 appearance on The Rich Eisen Show that those protests come with consequences.

 

“If you’re not going to stand for nothing, who are you? So I love that,” Sanders said on the show. “But understand, that has repercussions. Now, is he ready to repay those repercussions? Because honestly, you’ve cost owners, in their mind, a lot of money. A lot of people are turning the channels because guys were not standing for the national anthem, old school persons that were NFL fans as well. So you kind of put the NFL in a little disarray, momentarily, until that wave kind of left.”

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