During the Fall of 2017, it became popular for NFL football teams to kneel during the National Anthem to protest police brutality. Critics of the protest declared that kneeling during such a patriotic moment was disrespectful to the armed forces and its veterans.
Then, a photo came out on social media allegedly showing the Army Academy’s football team also taking a kneel in protest during the Anthem. This was a counter argument showing that kneeling is in fact not disrespectful because even the Army is taking part.
Even though this particular social media post was shared hundreds of thousands of times, it actually was completely false. In reality, the photo has nothing to do with the Army or the police brutality protests.
What Really Happened
The photo shared on social media is actually the Navy Midshipmen kneeling to pray before a game against the University of Tulsa. When you look at the facts it becomes clear that the person who posted this photo got a lot of key details wrong.
As you can see from the photo, the end zone where the kneeling is taking place says “Golden Hurricane”, making it obvious that this was the field at the University of Tulsa. On the specific Saturday in which the photo supposedly was taken, the Golden Hurricane played the Navy, not the Army.
It’s even obvious if you look at the different colors between the Army and Navy uniforms. Army has black and gold uniforms while the Navy wears blue and white as seen in the photo. So, the fact that this is obviously not the Army football team is the first issue with this photo and would’ve immediately cast doubt on the legitimacy of the photo with just a simple Google search.
Additionally, in college football, it’s customary that the teams aren’t even on the field during the National Anthem. In the case of Navy against the University of Tulsa, the teams were in their locker rooms during the song. So, even if someone argued that they simply confused the Navy with the Army and that the logic still stands that the military is kneeling for police brutality, their logic would still be wrong.
Overall, people could learn a lot from this incident of the Army being wrongly shamed for something that never even happened. In the world of social media, everyone feels like an expert and most people don’t perform their due diligence to ensure that what they’re sharing on the internet is truthful.
Especially when it comes to inflammatory and outrageous claims, it’s important to check the facts. This situation is a good example because of how little digging needed to be done in order to find the truth. Just simply looking at the uniform colors should’ve been cause for distrust.
The moral of the story: before you share something on social media, make sure it’s accurate.