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Fox News on Tuesday issued an apology after a Monday night segment on President Donald Trump disinviting the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House showed “unrelated” images that one player blasted as “propaganda.”
Earlier in the morning, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz criticized Fox News for showing images of players kneeling in prayer during a segment that touched on the broader trend of players kneeling during the national anthem.
“This can’t be serious…. 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,” Ertz tweeted.
Not a single Eagles player protested by taking a knee during the national anthem during the regular season or playoffs in 2017; however, a few raised a fist. Veteran cornerback Ron Brooks took a knee during the preseason, but he was cut before the regular season started.
In a statement, the network noted the images were “unrelated” and apologized.
“During our report about President Trump canceling the Philadelphia Eagles’ visit to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer,” Christopher Wallace, executive producer of Shannon Bream’s show, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
The statement also noted that no players kneeled in protest during the season or playoffs: “We apologize for the error.”
Other players also spoke out against Trump’s decision, including Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith (who played on the Super Bowl-winning team but now plays for the Carolina Panthers).
“There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views,” Smith said via Twitter. “The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.”
On Tuesday morning, the president took a dig at all players who kneel during the national anthem to protest the treatment of African-Americans, specifically at the hands of police, when he boasted about the “Celebration for America,” which would happen instead of celebrating the team.
“We will proudly be playing the national anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our country today at 3 p.m., with the White House, with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Honoring America! NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!” Trump tweeted.
Trump has remarked about players, teams or owners connected to protests, previously calling any player who kneels a “son of a bitch.”