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Fox News Shows Philadelphia Eagles Praying — for Story on Anthem Protests

A screenshot of a Fox News segment where the network used photos of Philadelphia Eagles players kneeling in prayer to illustrate a story about players who protest the national anthem.
Fox News / Screenshot

Fox News has apologized for showing pictures of the Philadelphia Eagles players kneeling — not in protest, but in prayer — to illustrate a story about the team’s spat with President Donald Trump.

During a story about the recent cancellation of the Super Bowl victors’ White House visit, Fox aired pictures of team members kneeling together. It just so happens that the national anthem was not playing when those photos were taken. In fact, not a single member of the NFL team knelt during the anthem at any time during the regular or post season — and some of them were irate at the suggestion.

A screenshot of a Fox News tweet with a video of the controversial news segment. The account has since deleted this post.

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and defensive end Chris Long took to Twitter to express their discontent with the careless reporting. “This can’t be serious,” said Ertz. “Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this…”

“Imagine wanting to please the boss so very badly that you run stills of guys knelt down PRAYING during pregame,” added Long soon after. “Not one Eagles player knelt for the anthem this yr. Keep carrying his water to sow division while misrepresenting Christian men. Aren’t many of your viewers.. nevermind.”

“You’re complicit in PLAYING America. This is just another day at the office for you, though,” he continued. “Most players (and there were many players, many players…) that wanted to opt out had decided long b4 the anthem rule came down. It wasn’t discussed once in our meetings about the visit.”

After a hasty correction, Fox News @ Night Executive Producer Christopher Wallace has responded with a statement:

During our report about President Trump canceling the Philadelphia Eagles trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer. To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season last year. We apologize for the error.

While no Eagles players kneeled for the anthem last season, several did protest with raised fists over the past few years, including safety Malcolm Jenkins, safety Rodney McLeod, defensive back Ron Brooks, and defensive end Steven Means.

Steven Means, Malcolm Jenkins, Ron Brooks

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Steven Means (51), strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) and defensive back Ron Brooks (33) raise their arms during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Jenkins and Long both criticized the NFL for its recent policy change, which bars players from protesting the national anthem while on the field but allows them to stay inside their locker rooms as the song plays.

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