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CBS reporter backtracks claim that Colin Kaepernick would stand for national anthem

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, center, then with the San Francisco 49ers, takes a knee during the national anthem in 2016. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

A CBS sports reporter who said Sunday that Colin Kaepernick would stand for the national anthem if given the opportunity to play in the NFL again later admitted that he never discussed the issue with the former quarterback.

Jason La Canfora made the statement while appearing on CBS’s “The NFL Today.” When asked if Kaepernick would kneel in protest if a team signed him, La Canfora said, “He’s not planning on kneeling. He’s going to donate all his jersey sales, and he’s planning on standing for the anthem if given the opportunity.”

Soon after, the Know Your Rights Campaign, a youth campaign fully funded by Kaepernick, posted a note to social media written by Kaepernick’s girlfriend, Nessa Diab, that said the report was “completely false.”

Kaepernick retweeted the denial. He also tweeted, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on,” which he attributed to Winston Churchill. Scholars debate whether Churchill ever said this.

Many news outlets that published La Canfora’s initial statement, including the Associated Press, later issued corrections.

CBS Sports did not release an official statement or retraction of the statement.

La Canfora, who interviewed Kaepernick Saturday, said in a series of five tweets that he never spoke to him about whether he would kneel during the national anthem if picked up by an NFL team. The columnist said he made the assertion based on previous reports, which he did not identify.

“I cant say if they are true or not,” he tweeted. “Colin and I didn’t discuss.”

“Colin would have to address any future demonstrations,” La Canfora said in another tweet. “I didn’t ask him if he would sit or stand. Our chat primarily about his will to play.”

He then said in another tweet that what Kaepernick “would do during the Anthem I do not know.”

This marked the latest in a series of gaffes for CBS. Last week, CBS News reported that singer Tom Petty had died while he was still clinging to life. The network also fired company executive Hayley Geftman-Gold after she called some victims of the Las Vegas shooting “Republican gun toters” and implied they didn’t deserve sympathy.

Reaction to the reporter’s initial Kaepernick claim was seized upon by high-profile conservatives who have spoken out against kneeling during the national anthem.

“You’re kidding,” tweeted Sarah Palin.

“Kaepernick promising to stand IF he gets a job shows that for these whiny entitled athletes, it’s not about the ’cause’ it’s about money,” tweeted Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren.

“Kaepernick just said he’d stand for The Anthem if the @NFL let’s him play again. Haha . . . nice going hero…” tweeted Robert O’Neill, the former Navy SEAL who was involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

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