Fact Check

Did Mike Tomlin Say Anthem-Kneelers 'Hate America'?

Coach Tomlin has been a frequent target of claims about athletes kneeling during the national anthem.

Published Nov. 3, 2023

 (Joe Sargent / Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Joe Sargent / Getty Images
At a September 2023 news conference, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he thought players who kneeled during the national anthem were showing a "hatred for America."

On Sept. 9, 2023, SpaceXMania.com published an article claiming that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced that he thought players who kneeled during the national anthem "hated America." The post was recirculated on the site's Facebook page on Nov. 1, garnering likes and comments supporting Tomlin's purported statements.

Mike Tomlin: Anthem Kneelers “Hate America” and Will Be Fired On Spot

In a shocking turn of events, Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach, Mike Tomlin, has issued an audacious directive which is sure to set tongues wagging not only in the football world but also in living rooms across America. In a post-practice press conference, Tomlin stated that any player who chooses to kneel during the national anthem is displaying a distinct “hatred for America” and will be shown the exit door immediately.

However, the article was not a factual account of real events. SpaceXMania is a website that describes much of its content as satire and included a tag marking the article as such on the site. The website also features a disclaimer explaining its content further:

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.

Snopes has fact-checked several claims similar to this one — that Tomlin benched two anthem kneelers "on the spot," and that he threatened to fire them. We found both claims were false and originated from SpaceXMania, which also tagged them as satire.

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


admin. “Mike Tomlin: Anthem Kneelers ‘Hate America’ and Will Be Fired On Spot.” USA NEW’S, 2 Nov. 2023, https://www.faithhopel.info/mike-tomlin-anthem-kneelers-hate-america-and-will-be-fired-on-spot/.

Disclaimer - SpaceXMania. 3 Jan. 2021, https://spacexmania.com/disclaimer/.

Mike Tomlin: Anthem Kneelers “Hate America” and Will Be Fired On Spot. 9 Sept. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/mike-tomlin-anthem-kneelers-hate-america-and-will-be-fired-on-spot12/.

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