Fact Check

Did the Entire Denver Broncos Team Choose To Stand for the National Anthem?

For the record, even during the height of the protests in 2017, there were entire teams who stood for the national anthem.

Published Nov. 14, 2023

 (Justin Edmonds / Getty Images)
Image Via Justin Edmonds / Getty Images
The NFL's Denver Broncos unanimously chose to stand during the national anthem during their latest game.

On Oct. 1, 2023, SpaceXMania published an article claiming that the Denver Broncos had unanimously elected to stand during the national anthem during their latest game (which, at the time of the article's publication, was either the Sept. 24 game versus the Miami Dolphins or the Oct. 1 game versus the Chicago Bears). The article began as follows:

BREAKING: Broncos Team Chooses to Stand for the Flag Instead of Kneeling in Latest Game

In the ever-evolving landscape of sports and activism, one NFL team made a noticeable statement in their recent game. The Denver Broncos, typically known for their prowess on the football field, made headlines for a different reason. In a game that was about more than just touchdowns and tackles, the Broncos chose to stand for the flag instead of kneeling in their latest matchup.

On Nov. 12, the site's Facebook page, SpaceX Lovers, recirculated the post, and many comments supported the Broncos' supposed decision, writing things like "So glad to see this," and "Love my Broncos, way to go." These comments suggest that many people who saw the recirculated post on Facebook believed the post was real. However, the story was not real. Although the story was recirculated on a Sunday, when most NFL games are played, the Denver Broncos did not play on Sunday that week, instead playing the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.

The numerous factual discrepancies in the story are because SpaceXMania is a satirical news site. The original story was marked as satire, and the site's disclaimer page notes that stories marked as satire have no basis in reality:

Please note that the article under the category “SATIRE” 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.

SpaceXMania publishes satirical claims about kneeling during the national anthem regularly: Since the start of the 2023 NFL season on Sept. 7, 2023, Snopes counted 27 different satirical articles written about kneeling protests during the "Star-Spangled Banner." An additional 10 were about ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the kneeling protest in 2016. Two articles stood out as most similar to this particular claim, and Snopes has checked both: an almost identical claim about the Kansas City Chiefs and a claim that the head coach of the Broncos, Sean Payton, fired two players who refused to stand for the anthem.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


BREAKING: Broncos Team Chooses to Stand for the Flag Instead of Kneeling in Latest Game. 1 Oct. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/breaking-broncos-team-chooses-to-stand-for-the-flag-instead-of-kneeling-in-latest-game12/.
Disclaimer - SpaceXMania. 3 Jan. 2021, https://spacexmania.com/disclaimer/.
Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/SpaceXElon/posts/pfbid0QsAWujh9R176QWH4dRck1E5VBpxprW54vS6SpuPNxrkUi4d848vHJ3gtAyHp6Pg9l. Accessed 14 Nov. 2023.
LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. “Broncos Coach Sean Payton Fired Two Players for Refusing to Stand for U.S. National Anthem?” Snopes, 20 Oct. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/payton-fired-two-players-over-kneeling-in-anthem/.
---. “Did Kansas City Chiefs Refuse To Kneel During Anthem, Following Travis Kelce’s Lead?” Snopes, 13 Nov. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/travis-kelce-chiefs-kneeling/.
Satire - SpaceXMania. 11 Nov. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/category/satire/.

Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.