Posts claiming NFL coaches made anti-LGBTQ remarks stem from satire

The National Football League has officially recognized Pride Month in June 2024, but social media posts say coaches of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs instructed their players not to participate, quoting them as making anti-LGBTQ remarks. This is false; a Steelers spokesperson said the team made no such announcement and both claims stem from satirical websites.

"Breaking: Steelers' Coach Tomlin Directs Team To Not Participate In Pride Month, 'It's Woke Crap,'" says a June 6, 2024 Facebook post, referring to Mike Tomlin.

Another widely shared Facebook post using an image of the Super Bowl-winning coach Andy Reid says: "Breaking: NFL Team Kansas City Chiefs Refuses To Participate In Pride Month, 'It's Extremely Woke.'"

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken June 12, 2024
Screenshot of a Facebook post taken June 12, 2024

Similar posts circulating on Facebook and other platforms including YouTube and X amassed tens of thousands of likes, the latest targeting what critics call "woke" values.

The NFL's official account and many teams across the league have recognized Pride Month on social media (archived here), but several teams including Pittsburgh and Kansas City had made no public statements as of June 12. 

A spokesperson for the Steelers said in a June 12 email that the online claim about Tomlin and the team is "inaccurate."

Keyword searches found both headlines stem from self-proclaimed satire websites while failing to uncover any such remarks reported by established news outlets. Additionally, reviews of both team's social media accounts found no evidence to support the claims.

The claim about the Steelers was shared by the SpaceX Fanclub Facebook account on June 6 and was labeled as satire. The post also links to an article on the site which describes its content as "fictitious" in a disclaimer (archived here) that adds it "specializes in satire, parody, and humor."

"Before you proceed to read our content, we would like to emphasize that nothing on this website is real," it says. However, multiple iterations of the claim that spread on social media lack such disclaimers.

Similarly, the Chiefs' headline appears to have originated from a June 6 article on, another self-described satire website.

"Our mission? To bring you the freshest fake news, some sassy analysis, and a good dose of satire, all rolled into one crazy concoction that orbits around Elon Musk and everything that’s lighting up the viral/trending charts," says its About Us page (archived here).

AFP reached out to the Chiefs, but a response was not forthcoming.

More of AFP's reporting on misinformation about the LGBTQ community can be found here, here and here.

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