NFL Fines Pittsburgh Steelers $1 Million Each for Mission National Anthem-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team $1 million each for refusing to take the field for the National Anthem before the team’s game against the Chicago Bears on September 25, 2017.
The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team stood in the tunnel during the National Anthem before the team’s week 3 game, but the NFL didn’t fine Steelers players $1 million each for the gesture.
That rumor came from the website Last Line of Defense, which admits in its disclaimer that it presents “fiction as fact” and cites sources that “don’t exist.” In a story that was shared nearly 10,000 times within 24 hours of being posted, the site started the hoax that the Steelers were fined for the protest:
It was a bad decision. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who donated to Donald Trump’s election campaign, announced shortly after the game began that every player who “protested” the National Anthem and showed “immense disrespect to our nation” would be fined a cool million dollars.
“It’s one thing to protest, it’s another thing to be blatantly disrespectful to those who have served our country,” Goodell said, noting that “this absolutely should not have happened on Veteran Appreciation Day at Heinz Field.”
Last Line of Defense is known for using current events and factual news stories as the basis its fictional stories, which makes the stories especially deceiving to readers.
In this case, it’s true that President Trump called on NFL owners to fire the “sons of bitches” who protest during the National Anthem. It’s also true that the entire Pittsburg Steeler stood in the tunnel for the National Anthem — except military veteran Alejandro Villanueva, who stood directly in front of the tunnel:
It’s false however, that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined the Pittsburgh Steelers $1 million each for the stunt. While the NFL could fine teams for not appearing on the sidelined for the National Anthem under current rules, NFL insiders reported that the league wouldn’t take that action:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 24, 2017
In fact, Goodell lauded the league’s response in a statement to Sport Illustrated. “The way we reacted today, and this weekend, made me proud. I’m proud of our league,” Goodell said.