Fake News: NFL Did NOT Fine Pittsburgh Steelers $1m Each For Skipping National Anthem

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

Famous fake/satire website The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense posted an article titled "BREAKING: NFL Fines Pittsburgh Steelers $1m Each For Skipping National Anthem" which opened:

Donald Trump must have really gotten through to the NFL! After he tweeted on Sunday shaming owners for catering to PC culture while allowing players to disrespect our flag, our country, and our national anthem, everyone fell in line.

The Pittsburgh Steelers thought it would be safe to take "taking a knee" to a whole new level by hiding in the locker room while the National Anthem played and everyone else showed reverence for OUR country but they didn't count on it being extremely costly.

The article then links to a (real) ABC report about Pittsburgh Steelers players not coming out for the the national anthem during a game. The story then continued with some totally made up news:

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.

No such thing happened. If you were thinking of praising or condemning Roger Goodell for this action, think again because you were taken in by fake news.

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The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense carries a satire disclaimer at the bottom of the page which reads:

In a cynical world where the news of the day often seems fake, The Last Line of Defense offers today's busy conservative a place to go to read things they'll enjoy and congregate with a bunch of people they agree with. So while everything on this site is a satirical work of fiction, we are proud to present it to those who will have called it real anyway.

The owner/writer of the site is self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has made it his full time job to troll gullible conservatives and Trump supporters into liking and sharing his articles. He runs several other websites such as asamericanasapplepie.org, ourlandofthefree.com and freedumjunkshun.com. Sometimes he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll".

Blair's articles frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down in the past but new ones keep cropping up.

If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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