For Pete's Sake

No, Clark Hunt didn’t say this about the anthem ... it’s an old debunked rumor

It’s said that history repeats itself. The same is true of false Internet stories.

Last year, a fake letter attributed to Chiefs owner Clark Hunt was shared on Facebook in which he purportedly told the players there could be no protests during the national anthem.

“I have heard about it,” Hunt told The Star’s Terez A. Paylor last November. “It was an Internet hoax.”

On Sunday, a photo of that letter again was posted on Facebook and it had been shared more than 200,000 times.

National anthem protests were a hot topic during the preseason as players made statements about police brutality and racial inequality. It’s gone beyond what former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started.

Sports Illustrated compiled a list of more than two dozen players who sat, knelt, raised a fist or put a hand on a teammate who was protesting during the national anthem in preseason games.

That includes Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who on Wednesday shared a story of having a police officer point a gun at his head while Bennett was in Las Vegas. Video of the encounter surfaced a short while later.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and retired NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin on Wednesday released a video in which they explained the reasons behind the national anthem protests.

One player not on the Sports Illustrated list is Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters. He rode an exercise bicycle during the national anthem in the preseason. During last season’s opener, Peters raised a fist during the anthem.

What will Peters or any other Chiefs player do while the national anthem is played Thursday night before their game against the Patriots? No one has said anything publicly, but we will see, because NBC told The Sporting News they will show the national anthem and won’t be hesitant to turn the camera on protestors.

But on thing is for certain: Hunt didn’t pen that fake letter that has been resurrected. The language in the letter certainly doesn’t sound like Hunt or any NFL owner.

It reads in part: “I will immediately fire you, no matter who you are! You can make your political statements off the field, but when you’re employed by me and I’m signing your check I demand that you make our fans proud and not embarrass them.”

Hunt told The Star last year about anthem protests: “It’s not something where I’ve spoken specifically to the players or any specific player about it. But the entire teams know that our desire is for them to stand during the national anthem.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff