Did Colin Kaepernick lobby to remove the American national anthem from being played before professional football games? No, that's not true: The NFL quarterback, who is currently a free agent, made no such effort. The article is a work of satire that has been stolen by other websites without noting the satirical nature of the story.
The story originated from an article (archived here) published by BeBest.website on March 26, 2019, under the title "Kaepernick Lobbies to Remove the National Anthem from Football." It opened:
Ever since that rat traitor Colon Kaepernick first took a knee at an NFL game in San Francisco, he's been a thorn in the side of patriots from coast to coast. He claimed it was a protest over police brutality against minorities. A civil rights demonstration, he said. The nation wasn't fooled about his true reasons. True Americans knew that Kaepernick was spitting on our veterans, the flag, and the country as a whole each and every time he knelt through our glorious Star Spangled Banner.
The former quarterback is now switching sides. Sort of. Kaepernick is leading a group he's calling "Colin Opposes Political Statements", or COPS. The group is intent on eliminating public political statements at NFL events.
The story is untrue. Kaepernick has not advocated for the removal of the national anthem before NFL games. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback made headlines in 2016 when he did not stand for the national anthem. Kaepernick said he was protesting police brutality against unarmed African Americans. His protests coincided with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
A retired U.S. Army Green Beret Nate Boyer advised Kaepernick to kneel rather than sit out during the national anthem as a sign of respect, and he wrote the quarterback a letter. It said, in part:
I'm not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It's your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I'd be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I've never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you've gone through is as ignorant as someone who's never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it's like to go to war."
Shortly thereafter, other players joined in the protest. About 200 players took a knee or sat during the national anthem. The issue became a national talking point about race and police brutality.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said that Kaepernick should live somewhere else:
I have followed it and I think it's personally not a good thing. I think it's a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it's not gonna happen."
Trump went on to speak out against Kaepernick's decision and conservatives began calling for a boycott of the NFL. Trump, at one point, even called for NFL players who didn't stand for the anthem to be fired.
Even though the controversy about Kaepernick's protest has died down, he remains a lightning rod for those who believe his free speech act was unpatriotic.
The BeBest.website site comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the top of each article:
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.
The owner and main writer of the site is self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair, who lives in Maine. He 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 wearethellod.com, bustatroll.org or bebest.website. Sometimes, he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll."
Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites that often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down, but new ones keep cropping up.
Blair and his operation were profiled by the Washington Post on November 17, 2018, by Eli Saslow:
'Nothing on this page is real': How lies become truth in online America
November 17 The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed.
If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:
The Ultimate Christopher Blair and America's Last Line of Defense Reading List | Lead Stories
STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.
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 journalists to rank the reliability of websites, describes BeBest.website as:
A site that publishes false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, part of a network named America's Last Line of Defense run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.
According to NewsGuard, the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about bebest.website before. Here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
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