Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt on National Anthem Protests-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Clark Hunt, the owner and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs, told coaches, players and staff that they are “paid performers on a stage” and ordered them to stand during the national anthem.
Clark Hunt is the latest NFL team owner that this fiery locker room speech about standing for the playing of the national anthem has been falsely attributed to.
These posts began circulating in response to San Francisco 49ers Colin Kapernick’s decision to sit or kneel during the national anthem in protest of social issues, and of the treatment of black men by the criminal justice system in particular. Numerous players around the league joined Kaepernick’s protest in the opening weeks of the 2016 NFL season. You can find a complete list of them here.
Rumors that Clark Hunt had called a team meeting in which he sternly told his coaches and players that they were “paid performers on a stage” and “that field is my stage” began circulating toward the end of September 2016:
Clark Hunt, CEO and Owner of the Kansas City #Chiefs called a meeting with all of his Coaches, Players and field staff and firmly told them, “You are all simply paid performers on a stage and that field is my stage! You will stand, with your hand over your heart and with respect, when our Country’s National Anthem is being played or you will no longer be a Kansas City Chief, a Coach for the Kansas City Chiefs or have any association with the Chiefs Organization! I will immediately fire you, no matter who you are! You can make your political statements off the field, but why you’re employed by me and I’m signing your check, I demand that you make our fans proud and not embarrass them.”
The post was widely circulated on social media, but it didn’t come from Hunt. We investigated a previous version in which the speech was attributed to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. We found that a Texas man named Richie Newberry, who is not affiliated with the Cowboys, wrote the locker room speech as a work of fiction.
In reality, Clark Hunt has drawn scrutiny from critics of the national anthem protests because Hunt did not release Chiefs defense back Marcus Peters for protesting before an NFL game on September 18th. We couldn’t find any record of Hunt discussing his views on the player protests, but we can confirm that the locker room speech being circulated did not come from him.