Fact Check

Deion Sanders Suspends 2 Players for Kneeling During Anthem, Tells Team 'Stand For The Flag'?

"The anthem, for many, represents this unity. I want my players to understand the gravity of that," Sanders was purported to have said.

Published Oct 2, 2023

Head coach Deion Sanders of the Colorado Buffaloes walks off the field at halftime of a game against the USC Trojans at Folsom Field on Sept. 30, 2023 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Image Via Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
An online article accurately reports that University of Colorado football head coach Deion Sanders suspended two star players for kneeling during the U.S. national anthem, adding, "Stand for the flag."

In September 2023, the SpaceXMania.com website published a story that said University of Colorado football head coach Deion Sanders, who's also known to sports fans as Coach Prime, had suspended two of his star players after they had taken a knee during the U.S. national anthem. Sanders purportedly said of the matter, "Stand for the flag."

The story was published just three days after Sanders' team suffered its first loss of the season, a crushing 42-6 defeat at Oregon.

The headline of the article read, "Breaking: Deion Sanders Suspends Two Star Players On The Spot For Anthem Kneeling; 'Stand For The Flag.'"

The rumor quickly spread on Facebook after it was posted by the SpaceX Lovers page.

The story began as follows:

Football and politics: two subjects that Americans are passionate about, often colliding in unexpected ways. Deion Sanders, an NFL legend and now the head coach for the Colorado Buffaloes, found himself at the eye of this storm when he suspended two star players for kneeling during the national anthem. His clarion call? "Stand For The Flag."


After the game, in a packed press room, Sanders, looking both determined and reflective, explained his decision. "Football, at its core, is about unity. Every training, every drill, every play on the field is a testament to what we can achieve when we stand together. The anthem, for many, represents this unity. I want my players to understand the gravity of that."

He further added, "I respect the right to protest and voice concerns. But there's a time and place for everything. On the field, during the anthem, I expect my players to stand united."

However, this story was not true. SpaceXMania.com describes its output as being satirical in nature, both on its "About Us" page and as a label above articles.

The rumor was also shared on at least one other Facebook page. In that case, the article that was linked to in the comments showed no satire labels at all.

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


Mikkelson, David. "Why We Include Humor and Satire in Snopes.com." Snopes, 15 Aug. 2019, https://www.snopes.com/notes/why-we-include-humor-and-satire-in-snopes-com/.

Russo, Ralph D. "AP Top 25: Colorado Falls out of Rankings after First Loss and Ohio State Moves up to No. 4." The Associated Press, 24 Sept. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/ap-top-25-rankings-colorado-georgia-ohio-state-8e4bddbef2fee036725d6066c1ce0f09.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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