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An online story says the Washington Redskins had an unplanned locker room slumber party.
The article’s headline reads, "Cops take a knee then walk out on Redskins, leaving them stranded in their locker room overnight."
Clickbait site Universaleinfo posted the story on Aug. 5. It says that Redskins players knelt during the national anthem, angering the police officers providing security at the game. The cops decided to stage a counter-protest: they got down on one knee, yelled "blue lives matter" and then left the team in the locker room. Unable to get past the angry fans outside, the players were stuck all night.
The Universaleinfo article was flagged as part Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
It’s a compelling story, aside from the fact none of it happened.
NFL protests have been in the national spotlight since 2016, when Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, knelt during the anthem to oppose police brutality. Since then, over 200 players throughout the league have chosen to kneel or sit in protest. Protests spiked in September 2017, when President Donald Trump encouraged NFL owners to fire players who didn’t stand for the anthem.
Two days after Trump spoke against Kaepernick, some Redskins players knelt before their game. Since then, there have been no reports of Redskins players refusing to stand during the anthem.
The Universaleinfo article was posted on Aug. 5, 2018. It says that the Redskins knelt before their game on "Monday night" in Philadelphia. Aug. 5 was a Sunday, so previous Monday would have been six days before, on July 30.
The Redskins did not play a game on July 30. In fact, they hadn’t even started pre-season yet.
The article also said that the Philadelphia Police Department released a statement after the incident, but there were no recent press releases about the Redskins online. A spokesperson for the Redskins confirmed that there was no game on July 30.
As far as we can tell, this article was entirely fabricated.
Where did this article come from, if not any actual news sites? It seems to be a repeat of a hoax from October 2017. An identical article was posted on Freedum Junkshun, a satire site meant to anger conservatives.
The article is "a boatload of bullhonkey," according to the disclaimer at the bottom of the Freedum Junkshun page. The related articles linked on the page are more of the same: football teams across the country, being punished in creative ways for not standing during the anthem.
Universaleinfo posted an article that claimed, "cops take a knee then walk out on Redskins, leaving them stranded in their locker room overnight."
None of the dates or information in the article match up to reality. This article is copied directly from a satire site and presented as though it was true.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
Universaleinfo, "Cops take a knee then walk out on Redskins leaving them stranded in their locker room overnight," Aug 5, 2018
NBC Sports, "Redskins lock arms, several take a knee during Week 3 national anthem," Sep 24, 2017
Philadelphia Police Department, News, accessed Aug 20, 2018
Freedum Junkshun, "Breaking: Cops take a knee then walk out on Redskins leaving them stranded in their locker room overnight," Oct 2017
NFL, "Washington Redskins 2018 schedule," Aug 2018
USA Today, "NFL player protests sweep league after President Trump’s hostile remarks," Sept 24, 2017
The Guardian, "Donald Trump blasts NFL anthem protesters: ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field," Sept 23, 2017
CBS Sports, "Majority of Raiders sit during anthem, most Redskins stand and link arms," Sept 25, 2018
Email interview with Tony Wyllie, executive vice president of communications for the Washington Redskins, Aug 20, 2018
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