CLAIM

Baseball players in the 1950s were caught on camera kneeling to protest lynchings in the United States.

FALSE

RATING

FALSE

ORIGIN

On 8 November 2017, a user who was perhaps looking to make light of the ongoing police brutality protests in the sports world published a faux-historical post on the prank web site BreakingNews247.net:

Archival photos reveal several white baseball players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of the lynching of innocent negroes and Jim Crow laws. The practice was quickly ended when the players realized that most of their fans were either KKK members or sympathizers.

As if the one-paragraph “story” isn’t a clue as to its fallacious nature, the site contains a disclaimer for readers:

This website is an entertainment website, news are created by users. These are humourous news, fantasy, fictional, that should not be seriously taken or as a source of information.

The photograph used in the story is legitimate insofar as it was actually taken and not manipulated. However, it appears to have been lifted from a site promoting the biography of New York Yankees pitcher Vernon “Lefty” Gomez. Gomez can be seen kneeling on the left-hand side of the picture, joined by his fellow pitchers on the 1936 Yankees.

In modern times, former pro football player Colin Kaepernick originated the demonstrations against extrajudicial killings on the part of police in 2016, when he began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before San Francisco 49ers games. But only one Major League Baseball player, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, has followed suit.

BreakingNews247.net is a prank news site that, like others of its ilk, allows anyone to create a headline and story that looks (at least at first glance) like an actual news article.

Sources:

Woo, Jeremy. “Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell Becomes First MLB Player to Kneel for National Anthem.”
Sports Illustrated. 23 September 2017.

Lefty Gomez. “Photos.”