By Michael d’Oliveira
Use of the photos was criticized because it implied that some of the Eagles players took part in the NFL protests and kneeled during the National Anthem. Fox removed the segment but CNN played the segment on its own broadcast.
“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,” wrote Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “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.”
On Twitter, Trump also implied the Eagles players knelt during the National Anthem.
“The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!”
Eagles player Chris Long criticized Fox for the misleading photos.
“Imagine wanting to please the boss so very badly that you run stills of guys knelt down PRAYING during pregame. 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.”
But the Eagles aren’t the first NFL players to be wrongly associated with kneeling during the National Anthem. In response to the criticism of NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem as a protest against police brutality, someone posted a photo of former NFL player Tim Tebow kneeling. The point was to accuse Tebow of kneeling during the National Anthem as a protest against legalized abortion.
The problem is that Tebow never kneeled during the National Anthem. He kneeled in prayer before. So did the Eagles.
There is a Snopes article dedicated to debunking the misuse of the Tebow photo. But you don’t need a website to figure out what’s wrong.
What’s happening behind Tebow and Eagles players can be a big clue as to whether or not they actually protested during the National Anthem.
If you look at Tebow’s photo, you’ll see the people behind him aren’t standing at attention with their hands on their hearts, which is customary when the National Anthem plays. People also have their hats on and are facing in various directions. If the National Anthem were playing when Tebow was kneeling, everyone would be looking like they’ve stopped what they’re doing. In the Tebow photo, a lot of people look like they would if they were walking around the sidelines before the game. The same is true of many of the photos of Eagles players.
Photographs alone aren’t always trustworthy. They’re a snapshot in time. It’s important to study the entire photograph before you pass judgement on what someone is doing.