Football

Yes, Nick Saban and Ford backed NFL players’ right to protest. Seems like it was only yesterday.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the Ford Motor Company both made statements in 2017 supporting the rights of the NFL protesters to kneel during the national anthem.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the Ford Motor Company both made statements in 2017 supporting the rights of the NFL protesters to kneel during the national anthem. AP file

A social media storm kicked up this week after Alabama coach Nick Saban and Ford Motor Company both said NFL players had a right to protest.

It’s true enough, except they said it last year.

It appears the Saban quote was revived by ProFootballTalk on the NBC Sports site. It shared it on Facebook and Twitter and the growling and hissing commenced.

Then it updated the story: “An original version of the article said the quotes were from this week. The story from 2017 is making the rounds on social media today, but the quotes actually were from 2017.”

The story was from USAToday, which based it on a transcript of Saban’s radio show. He was responding to a veteran who called and asked about the controversial protest.

“First of all, I’m just a football coach,” he said. “I don’t think that what these people are doing is in any way, shape or form meant to disrespect a veteran or somebody like yourself who has worked so hard, fought so hard and sacrificed so much for all of us to have the quality of life that we want to have. But one of the things that you also fought for and made sacrifice for was that we could all have the freedom to have a choice in terms of what we believe, what we do and what we said.”

Thursday, someone at CNN.com uploaded a new photograph to a 2017 story headlined “How Trump is changing sports coverage” and that made the story about Ford supporting the pro player who were protesting police treatment of black people by kneeling during the national anthem.

And there went the people of the internet, talking about patriots burning their F-150s and such. The story now has an update of its own: “This story was published September 25, 2017. A new accompanying photo that accurately illustrates the content of the story was added September 6, 2018.”

The Ford family also owns the Detroit Lions.

“Our game has long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change in many communities throughout our nation,” Martha Firestone Ford, owner and chairwoman of the team, said. “Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country, and we do not support those comments or opinions.”

For the record, social media was just as outraged in 2017.

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