Yesterday Pittsburgh talk show host and sports columnist John Steigerwald drew condemnation from Pittsburgh City Paper, which took him to task for sharing a satirical article that claimed the Pittsburgh Steelers would be fining players $1 million for kneeling during the national anthem. Steigerwald’s mistake, per writer Ryan Deto, is that he didn’t point out that the undated article is satire—and now it’s being shared all over social media, with some people apparently accepting the story as fact.
Pittsburgh Steelers Will Fine ANY Player Kneeling For The Anthem $1 Million – ALLOD-4 https://t.co/LZKphGW9wV
— John Steigerwald (@Steigerworld) August 12, 2020
Never mind that the article was published on DailyWorldUpdate dot-us, which is labeled as “satire for flat earthers, Trumpsters, and y’all Qaeda.” And that the piece is bylined by “Flagg Eagleton.” The tweet also ends with “ALLOD-4,” which appears to be a reference to a network of satire and parody sites, though only a fan of these sites would likely know this.
Regardless, the article quotes a fake executive of the Steelers, who claims that the $1 million fine would also extend to the visiting teams, “and if they don’t like it, they’re welcome to sit in the locker room during the anthem where nobody can see them expressing their opinions.”
The fake executive also claims that “there will be a bonus at the end of the season for players who stood with hand on heart for the camera,” that bonus coming in the form of “a gift certificate to the local Mercedes dealer.”
Stephon Tuitt: ‘I’m Not Kneeling For the Flag’
The issue of kneeling during the national anthem came to a head in Pittsburgh two weeks ago when Steelers defense end Stephon Tuitt tweeted: “I’m not kneeling for the flag and screw anybody who have a problem with that.”
The tweet earned the approval of countless individuals who believe that NFL players should not kneel during the national anthem, but Tuitt also had his share of critics, including teammate Zach Banner. That led Tuitt to try to clarify his stance, while remaining defiant, saying: “I stand for the flag because I am a proud American. Like previously stated, this country has provided and rewarded my family in so many ways through our perseverance and hard work. I will continue to honor my country and be an example to my children to stand for what they believe in.”
But he also sought to show that he was a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, writing: “In regards to police brutality and the black lives matter movement I will support these causes through other means.”
Players Who Kneel Will Have the Support of Mike Tomlin
As for the team’s position, head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear during a video conference call in June that Steelers players who choose to kneel will have the support of the organization. Per Brooke Pryor of ESPN, “Tomlin said he supports players in any statement or actions they wish to take, ‘as long as it’s done so thoughtfully and with class.’”
“We’ve spent a lot of group time talking about the ongoing issues, talking about the platform that they [the players] have and how to best utilize it and how to do so thoughtfully,” Tomlin said. “Our position is simple: We’re going to support our players and their willingness to participate in this—whether it’s statements or actions.”
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