Get PolitiFact in your inbox.
A recent article describing a flight crew taking a knee and leaving the New Orlean Saints stranded on the runway is a fake news story published on another satirical news website.
"Flight crew takes a knee and walks off, leave New Orleans Saints stranded on runway," read the headline of the story published on dailyfeed.news on Oct. 2, 2017. The article claimed that the pilot and co-pilot of the plane were combat vets who did not take kindly to Saints players partaking in the "Take A Knee" protest and decided to take a knee of their own and exit the plane.
"Looks like the group of thugs should have just considered themselves lucky they’re allowed to make millions for playing a game and stood with respect like they’re told to do in the league rulebook." said the post.
Although the "Take a Knee" protest has been a point of controversy in the past few weeks, there is no evidence that this incident ever took place. (There is also no mention of the national anthem in the 2017 NFL rule book, though a spokesman did confirm the "game operations manual" requires players to stand for the song.)
The Saints, who played the Dolphins in London on Oct.2, made a team decision to take a knee during the coin toss then stand during the anthem as "a way to show respect to all," tweeted quarterback Drew Brees.
The article was first published on Oct. 1 to Freedumjunkshun.com, a satirical news site with a format that resembles Christopher Blair’s, TheLastLineOfDefense.org. Blair, a self-proclaimed liberal troll, is known to run a number of joke news sites responsible for publishing stories meant to "mess with conservatives," he told PolitiFact in an email last spring.
The owner of Freedumjunkshun.com is listed as a private registrant, so there is not any definitive proof that Blair is behind this site. But a quick look at the website’s About Us reveals the site referring to itself as "Freedom Crossroad," the name of another website that we found to be run by Blair.
Regardless of its origins, the post claims that a protesting flight crew stranded the Saints. We rate the claim Pants on Fire!
Dailyfeed.news, "Flight Crew Takes a Knee And Walks Off, Leave New Orleans Saints Stranded on Runway" Oct. 2, 2017
PolitiFact, "A short history of the national anthem, protests and the NFL" Sept. 25, 2017
Washington Post, "After Trump renews call for NFL players to stand for anthem, protests continue Sunday", Oct. 1, 2017
NFL, 2017 Official Playing Rules of the NFL, accessed Oct. 2, 2017
Twitter, Drew Brees on "respect to all", accessed Oct. 3, 2017
Freedumjunkshun.com, "Flight Crew Takes a Knee And Walks Off, Leaving New Orleans Saints Stranded On Runway", Oct. 1, 2017
PolitiFact, "If you're fooled by fake news, this man probably wrote it," May 31, 2017
Whois search results for freedumjunkshun.com accessed Oct. 3, 2017
Freedumjunkshun.com, "About Us" accessed Oct. 3, 2017
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.