Fake News: Ref Did NOT Get In The Game, Did NOT Eject 4 Kneeling Players

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Ref Did NOT Get In The Game, Did NOT Eject 4 Kneeling Players

Did the referee named Jerry Noonan eject four players at a Miami Dolphins game for kneeling during the national anthem? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a liberal satire website that specifically designs its articles to cause conservatives and Trump supporters to become angry so they will share them without checking if they are actually real. Fans of the site then mock them for that. The whole story is not real.

The story originated from an article published by America's Last Line of Defense on September 16, 2018 titled "BREAKING: Ref Gets in the Game-Ejects 4 Kneeling Players" (archived here) which opened:

The NFL has layers of rules and a dozen people to enforce them off the field. On game day, however, the referee is in charge. According to the NFL rulebook, Once the referee arrives on the playing field, in uniform, he is in control. That includes the playing of the National Anthem.

Immediately after the song in Miami this afternoon, Referee Jerry Noonan threw two players from the Miami Dolphins off the field, citing "multiple counts of unsportsmanlike conduct." When asked about his motives, Noonan told reporters:

" I don't care what reason they think they have. I was a Marine. On my field, you will stand during the National Anthem. If not, I will eject you if you've ever done it before."

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so some of them might have believed it:

BREAKING: Ref Gets in the Game-Ejects 4 Kneeling Players

They're not gonna keep getting away with it.

The picture used to illustrate the hoax article is actually from January 4, 2018:

Dolphins coach: Landry brawl 'embarrassing'

DAVIE, Fla. -- Jarvis Landry's return to the Miami Dolphins in 2018 looked a little less likely Wednesday after coach Adam Gase delivered a stinging critique of the excitable receiver's behavior in the season finale. Landry and teammate Kenyan Drake were ejected in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The word 'includes' in the story linked to a Google translation of the phrase "No it doesn't. Don't be stupid.". In addition there was a notice in the header of the site that said "Information you probably shouldn't trust." and the article was posted in a category named "goats, Racism, Satire, You'll Only See It Here. For a Reason."

If all those hints weren't enough the site also comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the bottom of each article:

sat·ire ~ˈsaˌtī(ə)r
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
If you disagree with the definition of satire or have decided it is synonymous with "comedy," you should really just move along.

All that didn't stop at least one Macedonian fake news site from copying the story verbatim without the warnings or disclaimers.

The owner and main 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, including potatriotpost.us, dailyworldupdate.us and nofakenewsonline.us. Sometimes he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll". A second man working on the sites is John Prager as revealed in this earlier story we wrote.

Articles from Blair's sites 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 and he keeps knocking them down.

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.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes trumpbetrayed.us as:

A website claiming to be satirical that publishes fabricated stories, run by Christopher Blair, a known purveyor of disinformation, that published fake stories about Senator John McCain after he passed away.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about trumpbetrayed.us before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an 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.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion