Fact Check

No, Mike Tomlin Didn't Say 'No More Kneeling' on His Field

The Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach has expressed support for his players who take a stand against social injustice.

Published Aug 5, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 09: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks the field during warmups against the Minnesota Vikings prior to an NFL game at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 09, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Image Via Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin told his players he would allow no more kneeling in protest on his field.

Fact Check

In July 2022, the website The Dunning-Kruger Times published an article holding that Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin had forbidden his players from taking a knee in protest against social injustice before NFL games:

Steeler’s Mike Tomlin Says No More Kneeling On His Field: “You’re Athlete’s Not Activists”

Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has issued a mandate to all of his players for the upcoming season: there will be no kneeling on the field. Tomlin’s statement came as a shock to the team, since the Steelers have been the team with the largest number of unpatriotic kneelers since the crisis began in 2017.

Tomlin says he’s tired of people hating America and not being able to stand and recognize a song for 2 minutes once a week. “It’s just silly,” Tomlin told reporters, “I can’t stand seeing it.” Three other coaches confirm that Tomlin is vehemently opposed to kneeling on the field.

There is no truth to this story. The Dunning-Kruger Times is part of the America's Last Line of Defense network of websites and social media accounts, and as such only publishes content it describes as "pure fantasy" and satirical. The website bears this disclaimer:

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.

In the past Tomlin has expressed support for his players who choose to kneel to protest social injustice. "Our position is simple: We're going to support our players and their willingness to participate in this -- whether it's statements or actions," he told reporters in 2020.


Patriot, Flagg Eagleton-. “Steeler’s Mike Tomlin Says No More Kneeling On His Field: ‘You’re Athlete’s Not Activists.’” Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, 8 July 2022, https://box5884.temp.domains/~dunning2/dunningkrugertimes/steelers-mike-tomlin-says-no-more-kneeling-on-his-field-youre-athletes-not-activists/.

Strackbein, Noah. “Mike Tomlin to Support Steelers Who Protest National Anthem.” Sports Illustrated Pittsburgh Steelers News, Analysis and More, https://www.si.com/nfl/steelers/news/mike-tomlin-steelers-national-anthem. Accessed 5 Aug. 2022.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.