Fox News has issued an apology for misrepresenting photos of NFL players kneeling in prayer as those taking a knee in protest of social injustice.
The errant footage was used on Monday evening in covering President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind a White House invitation to the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, whom he typified as “disrespectful” for taking part in the “take a knee” movement to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
Trump made the announcement after it was reported that the Eagles would be sending 10 or fewer representatives to the White House, including none of the team’s black players. “The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better,” President Trump said in a statement.
The thing is, Eagles players neither knelt nor remained in the locker room during the 2017 regular season or post-season play. So, the photos that Fox News used for their news report were actually of Philadelphia players kneeling pre-game in prayer.
Catching wind of the misleading footage, Eagles TE Zach Ertz tweeted at Fox News, “This can’t be serious…. Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this.”
That and other commentaries pointing out the misdirect led Fox News to issue an apology that read: “During our report about President Trump canceling the Philadelphia Eagles [sic] trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer. To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season last year. We apologize for the error.”
With some theorizing that NFL ratings were down last season due to the “take a knee” moment (given how there are those who spin the gesture as being “unpatriotic”), and in light of how President Trump has repeatedly weighed in on the hot button issue, NFL owners last month approved a new policy for the 2018 season that requires players to stand during the anthem if they are on the field.