Fact Check: NFL Referees Do NOT Now Have The Authority To Disqualify Players For Anthem Kneeling -- Story Is From A Satire Site

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: NFL Referees Do NOT Now Have The Authority To Disqualify Players For Anthem Kneeling -- Story Is From A Satire Site Satirical Site

Do NFL referees now have the authority to disqualify players for kneeling in protest during the national anthem? No, that's not true: This claim comes from a satirical website that has a history of fabricating content surrounding popular topics. The site carries a disclaimer that states, "Everything on this website is fiction." Lead Stories found no credible reports about what would be a newsworthy rule-change if it actually had happened.

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published on Facebook on December 3, 2023. It opened:

NFL Referees now have the authority to disqualify players for anthem kneeling.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Dec 4 17:15:21 2023 UTC)

The post on Facebook has a link to a story (archived here) on the website Dunning-Kruger Times with the headline, "Five NFL Players Removed From Their Games Under League's New 'No Anthem Kneeling' Rule." The story about NFL referees having the authority to remove players for kneeling during the national anthem is completely fabricated, as are the other stories on the website.

The article claimed:

The NFL's new "no anthem kneeling" rule went into effect the first week of the season. Unfortunately, there was little anyone could do about it if they took a knee and the coach allowed it.
This week, all that has changed. The league gave the power to eject players for unsportsmanlike conduct to the referee, with the penalty coming at the end of the opening kickoff.

A Google search (archived here) using the keywords "nfl refs remove players kneeling during national anthem," yielded zero results for any credible news stories. A similar search of the NFL's official website yielded no authentic reports about the disqualification rule.

The Dunning-Kruger Times

The Dunning-Kruger Times is a satirical website with an About Us page (archived here) that has the following disclaimer:

About Us

Dunning-Kruger-Times.com is a subsidiary of the 'America's Last Line of Defense' network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery, or as Snopes called it before they lost their war on satire: Junk News

About Satire

Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with 'comedy':

sat·ire ˈsaˌtī(ə)r noun: 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.

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.

The website is named after the Dunning-Kruger effect, a term from a psychology experiment that describes the phenomenon of being ignorant of one's own ignorance. (That experiment has been disputed by a math professor.) It is run by self-described liberal troll Christopher Blair.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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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.
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