On Sept. 18, 2023, the Dunning-Kruger Times published an article that claimed "Joe Barron," supposedly the head coach of the New York Jets, said he would quit on the spot if Colin Kaepernick joined the team.
The claim began to spread after the Jets' starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon during a game on Sept. 11, 2023. ESPN reported the team was expected to add a veteran quarterback to the team after the injury. Kaepernick, who used to be a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has not played for a National Football League (NFL) team since January 2017, which has led to the suspicion that he was blackballed by team owners for kneeling during the national anthem beginning in August 2016.
The Dunning-Kruger Times article said:
Jets Head Coach Says He'll Quit "On The Spot" If The Team Signs Colin Kaepernick
When Aaron Rodgers left the field on a cart, the Jets' front office knew they had an issue on their hands. While they have the obligatory backup in place, they're lacking the long-arm abilities of a certain style of quarterback.
Enter Colin Kaepernick. While he hasn't played in six years, he's still probably better than any other quarterback available in the third week of September. For head Coach Joe Barron, however, he's still not worth it.
The claim wasn't true. "Joe Barron" isn't even the correct name of the head coach of the Jets at the time of this writing.
We found the Dunning-Kruger Times article posted on Facebook, with the comments section for the post indicating people believed the Jets' head coach had indeed said he would quit if Kaepernick was signed to the team. The Dunning-Kruger Times article was reposted word-for-word on at least one other website, America Trends. Another website, SpaceXMania, published its own take on the claim. We also received reader emails asking about it.
The Dunning-Kruger Times describes its content as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:
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.
There were other indicators that the claim was false. Neither article used the name of the Jets' actual head coach, Robert Saleh, who became the first Muslim coach in NFL history upon his hiring in 2021. The Dunning-Kruger Times article said the head coach was "Joe Barron," which the Associated Press reported is a frequent moniker used in the website's satirical stories.
In addition, if the coach of a NFL team said he was quitting in the middle of the season because a specific player had been signed to the roster, presumably it would make major headlines at reputable news and sports publications. We found no evidence that any reputable publications had written about the claim.
We've previously fact-checked other satirical claims about Kaepernick, like whether the NFL had refused his request for active status and said he should sell hair products instead.
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.