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Fox News Was Accused Of Spreading "Propaganda" For Using Photos Of Philadelphia Eagles Praying To Falsely Imply They Were Protesting

"Fox News comes out hard against... praying."

Last updated on June 5, 2018, at 10:57 a.m. ET

Posted on June 5, 2018, at 10:29 a.m. ET

President Donald Trump on Monday disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from a White House event to celebrate their Super Bowl victory after only a handful of players said they'd attend.

Frank Franklin Ii / AP

In a tweet canceling the planned event, Trump said that staying in the locker room while the national anthem is being played is "as disrespectful to our country as kneeling."

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!

A Fox News segment about Trump rescinding his invitation to the Eagles — which has since been deleted from social media — used several photos of the Eagles kneeling on the field.

However, the photos that Fox News used for the segment actually showed the Eagles praying before games — and not protesting during the national anthem.

Fox News

People on Twitter, including several players and sports reporters, immediately called out Fox News for falsely suggesting that the Eagles players were kneeling to protest the national anthem.

@walterowensgrpa @FoxNews @realDonaldTrump @Eagles @WhiteHouse They didn't kneel during the anthem - those are all pictures of Eagles players praying. Fox News is lying to you. That's what you should be mad about.

Hey @FoxNews , those players in your video were praying before the anthem and before the game. https://t.co/kBjFLO7OL4

Zach Ertz, star tight end of the Eagles, slammed Fox News for using photos of him and his teammates praying "well before" the national anthem to spread its "propaganda."

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... https://t.co/kYeyH2zXdK

Here's the photo Fox News used in its segment that showed Ertz and Corey Clement kneeling on the field.

And here's the original photo of the two players kneeling to pray before their game against the Arizona Cardinals in 2017.

Michael Perez / AP

Here's another photo Fox News used of three Eagles players on the field during the segment.

Fox News

And here's a similar photo showing Ertz, Carson Wentz, and Trey Burton praying before their game against the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.

Michael Perez / AP

The executive producer for the segment apologized for the "error" on Tuesday.

"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," Christopher Wallace, executive producer of Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

The show was slated to address the issue Tuesday night.

Chris Long, defensive end for the Eagles, pointed out that not a single Eagles player knelt during the national anthem this year. He accused Fox News of trying to sow division while "misrepresenting Christian men."

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 https://t.co/QdlOvL0btq

A columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News also noted that no uniformed Eagle knelt during the national anthem and called the Fox News segment "shameless propaganda and a journalistic lie."

3 of the 4 photographs used by @FoxNews in this clip show @Eagles kneeling but NOT during the anthem. They are photos of the players PRAYING; 2 of them @ZERTZ_86. No uniformed #Eagle ever knelt. This is shameless propaganda and a journalistic lie. https://t.co/7hiY35l0ak

The Eagles beat reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer also confirmed that no Eagles player ever intentionally stayed in the locker room or knelt in protest during the national anthem last season.

No #Eagles player ever intentionally stayed in the locker room during the national anthem last season as a form of protest. No player ever knelt. Malcolm Jenkins raised his right fist, as did a few others on occasion. Chris Long placed his arm on Jenkins’s shoulder. https://t.co/YiF3Dby2oV

Others on Twitter criticized the channel for misinforming its viewers.

If you wanted to see how dishonest Fox News is to their viewers please look at this montage. They used pictures of eagles players praying to make it seem they were protesting the national anthem. This why their viewers are the most misinformed https://t.co/MPtLMbR7i8

"Fox News is lying to you," one person said.

@walterowensgrpa @FoxNews @realDonaldTrump @Eagles @WhiteHouse They didn't kneel during the anthem - those are all pictures of Eagles players praying. Fox News is lying to you. That's what you should be mad about.

Others showed that it was not uncommon for players to kneel in prayer before games.

@FoxNews @realDonaldTrump @Eagles @WhiteHouse They’re praying in those photos. You know, like this dude. Or are only white players allowed to do that? https://t.co/NT8X9dt206

And people had a lot to say about the irony of the conservative outlet misrepresenting people praying.

Talk about irony - President Trump says Eagles players should stand for the Anthem, and then because they can’t find any evidence of Eagles players kneeling for the anthem, the voice of Christian Americans Fox News uses Photos of Eagles players kneeling in prayer instead https://t.co/cp5FecVIk2

There were several sarcastic comments.

This clip uses 3 photos of players praying before games (not during the national anthem). Gosh, Fox News, why do you hate Christianity? https://t.co/g7rQ2imTaF

"Fox News come out hard against... praying," the press secretary for Philadelphia Gov. Tom Wolf said.

Fox News comes out hard against... praying https://t.co/gyLO0mL9ME

"The people who ought to be most outraged by that are Christians," an editor for Pro Football said.

Fox News is using images of Christian players kneeling in prayer and implying that they were kneeling in protest during the anthem. The people who ought to be most outraged by that are Christians. How many Christians will speak out? https://t.co/JIJHMQ3D3l

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