Fact Check

Colin Kaepernick Vows Never To Kneel During National Anthem Again?

The athlete has been unsigned since 2017, after he kneeled during the national anthem before a football game.

Published Sept. 8, 2023

 (Au Kirk/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Au Kirk/Wikimedia Commons
Claim:
Football player Colin Kaepernick has begged to be let back into a football team, vowing to never kneel for a national anthem again.

On Sept. 7, 2023, an article on SpaceXMania claimed that football player Colin Kaepernick was begging to be let back into a National Football League (NFL) team after promising he would never kneel for the national anthem again. 

The articled stated:

Colin Kaepernick Begs to Rejoin the Team, Vows Never to Kneel During the National Anthem Again

Held in a dimly lit room with a single spotlight on him, Kaepernick, wearing a suit that suspiciously looked like it was made from old 49ers jerseys, took to the podium. "I've had a change of heart," he began, tears streaming down his face. "I promise, if any team takes me back, I'll stand during the national anthem. Heck, I'll even sing along if that's what it takes!"

The room was filled with gasps, and one could hear a pin drop. Was this the same man who had once taken such a strong stance against police brutality? The same man who had become a beacon of hope for many in the fight against racial injustice?

This article was presented a work of satire and originates from a website that describes its content as satirical. We have frequently covered stories from SpaceXMania, which touts itself as  "a team of writers and editors based in New York, USA, dedicated to providing our readers with the latest news, analysis, and satire related to Elon Musk, Space, SpaceX, and everything in between." 

The website's About Us section states: 

At our website, we pride ourselves on offering a unique perspective on the world of space exploration. Our satirical articles provide a fresh and entertaining take on the latest space news, while our analysis delves deep into the technical, financial, and political aspects of space travel.

The website also has a disclaimer page that states:

Please note that some of the articles on this website are satirical in nature and are not meant to be taken seriously. These articles are meant to be humorous and are often entirely made up. We make no claim that the information presented in these articles is true or accurate.

Readers should exercise caution and use their own judgment when reading and interpreting our satirical articles. We take no responsibility for any actions taken based on the content of these articles.

We understand that some readers may be unfamiliar with satire and may not understand that these articles are not meant to be taken at face value. It is the responsibility of the reader to discern the intent of these articles and to understand that they are not presented as factual news.

The article even shared supposed responses from NFL teams: "The Cleveland Browns, in a statement, said, 'We're considering it. If he can guarantee no more kneeling and maybe throw in a little tap dance during halftime, we might have a deal.'"

Kaepernick became a subject of global attention when in 2016 he refused to stand for the national anthem during a football game. At the time he was playing for the San Francisco 49ers, and he said he could not stand for the flag of a country that oppressed Black people. The summer of 2016 saw the shootings of several Black men. 

He opted out of his contract with the 49ers and has not played for a team since January 2017. His unsigned status led to suspicion that he was blackballed by NFL team owners.

While the SpaceXMania article is fictional, Kaepernick has actually expressed interest in continuing to play football. However, there is no evidence that he said he would give up his protest and activism in order to do so.

He told Sports Illustrated in June 2023 that he still trains five to six days a week: "I'm going to keep pushing. I'm going to keep fighting for it because I know I can step on the field and play. Every workout, every opportunity I've had to show that, the feedback has always been positive. Everything from, 'He's still an elite player,' to 'The workout was great; it was better than expected.'" 
 
Given that the article was labeled by its publisher as "satire," we rate this claim as Labeled Satire. 
 

Sources

"About Us." SpaceXMania, https://spacexmania.com/about-us/. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.

Boren, Cindy. "A Timeline of Colin Kaepernick's Protests against Police Brutality, Four Years after They Began." Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2020. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/06/01/colin-kaepernick-kneeling-history/. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.

Bruno, Alex. "Colin Kaepernick Begs to Rejoin the Team, Vows Never to Kneel During the National Anthem Again." SpaceXMania, 7 Sept. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/colin-kaepernick-begs-to-rejoin-the-team-vows-never-to-kneel-during-the-national-anthem-again/. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.

"Disclaimer." SpaceXMania, https://spacexmania.com/disclaimer/. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.

Ibrahim, Nur. "Singers Jason Aldean and Oliver Anthony Are Not Getting Nobel Prizes." Snopes, 28 Aug. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jason-aldean-oliver-anthony-nobel-prize/. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.

Manzano, Gilberto. "Colin Kaepernick Still Vows to 'Keep Pushing, Keep Fighting' to Play in the NFL." Sports Illustrated, 29 June 2023, https://www.si.com/nfl/2023/06/29/former-nfl-quarterback-colin-kaepernick-vows-to-keep-pushing-to-play-nfl. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.

"What's Taking the Knee and Why Is It Important?" BBC News, 18 June 2020. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-53098516. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.