James Harrison did not say that “anyone on my team sits for the anthem, they better be in a wheelchair” or anything to that similar effect regarding players kneeling or sitting during the national anthem. But if you have been online in the past week, you’ve probably seen it attributed to him. (I’m not going to link the “original” source of that fabricated quote, but the author was “Happy Gilmore.”)
Because it was on a political issue, and Harrison is a well-known tough guy, it spread like wildfire in some quarters that like to decry fake news. Jeremy Roenick, now a hockey analyst with NBC Sports, is one of the most prominent passers of this fake news, when he sent out a tweet that has over 3,000 retweets (and is still active). I have seen it several times being discussed on both my Facebook and Twitter feeds, both by those who want the fake quote to be real to match their views, and those dropping criticisms of Harrison.
Jonathan Jones of MMQB actually talked to Harrison, who confirmed that he never said anything of the sort.
In fact, Harrison had this to say: “That’s up to the individual, if they feel like that’s something they want to do, that’s their right.”
“I mean, I guess it speaks to the gullibility of people,” Harrison told MMQB. “Just because you read something on social media doesn’t make it true. If you were to do that and believe everything that you hear or see, written or there, the world would be in a real bad place. And we’re already in a tough place now.”
Harrison also dropped a truth sack coming off the edge, on the thousands upon thousands that fell for it: “I mean, I think the source was what, Happy Gilmore or something? C’mon, let’s use a little bit of common sense.”