Fact Check

Mike Tomlin Suspends 2 Steelers Players for Anthem Kneeling?

The players' names were allegedly withheld for privacy.

Published Sept. 7, 2023

 (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin dismissed two players from the team after they knelt during the national anthem.

On Sept. 6, 2023, the website SpaceXMania published an article positing that Mike Tomlin, the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, had fired to players for kneeling during the national anthem:

BREAKING: Mike Tomlin Suspends Two Steelers Players for Anthem Kneeling

In an unprecedented twist in the NFL saga, the Pittsburgh Steelers' esteemed coach, Mike Tomlin, set the sports world abuzz. After two key players (names withheld for privacy) knelt during the national anthem, they were promptly dismissed from the team.

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

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.

The article in question was clearly labeled "Satire" at the top of the page. However, it's likely many social media users who encountered the claim on Facebook or other platforms were unaware of its satirical intent. The claim made its way around Facebook as a screenshot with no disclaimer, for example: 

BREAKING: Mike Tomlin Suspends Two Steelers Players for Anthem Kneeling (Amazing Life/Facebook)

Facebook posts like the one above were typically followed by a comment that linked to the article itself, but on a different website from the one that originally published it. In these cases, the article was labeled "News," not "Satire." 

BREAKING: Mike Tomlin Suspends Two Steelers Players for Anthem Kneeling (Popular News Blog)


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



Bruno, Alex. "BREAKING: Mike Tomlin Suspends Two Steelers Players for Anthem Kneeling." SpaceXMania, 6 Sept. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/breaking-mike-tomlin-suspends-two-steelers-players-for-anthem-kneeling/.

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