Facts Matter: Fake post claims Nike protest landed man in hospital

Nike's decision to make former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of its "Just Do It" campaign prompted protesters to post photos of themselves destroying the company's sports gear.

But an image of the severely burned feet of a man claiming he lit his Nike shoes on fire while wearing them is false, according to

The collection of photos making the rounds on social media shows user Phil Braun igniting the Nike shoes he is wearing and watching the flames rise, and ends with a gruesome image of injured feet, captioned, "I am in the hospital."

While Snopes couldn't say if the man in the photo actually set his shoes on fire while wearing them, the image of burned feet is of an unidentified patient at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The photo has been on the Victorian State Trauma System website since March 2017, Snopes said, long before the Nike demonstrations and Phil Braun's Sept. 3 post.

Kaepernick spearheaded a protest against racial injustice and police brutality that saw many NFL players kneeling during the national anthem before games, according to The Washington Post. The Nike ad featuring Kaepernick first aired during the league's season opener on Thursday.

No evidence NBC's Lester Holt fudged video

There is no evidence to support President Donald Trump's claim that NBC News doctored a video, according to The Associated Press.

The president said in a Twitter post in August that news anchor Lester Holt "got caught fudging my tape on Russia," referring to a May 2017 interview in which Trump said the Russia investigation was part of his decision to fire FBI director James Comey.

The charge is baseless and there is no indication footage of the interview was fudged or doctored in any way, AP said. The White House didn't respond to AP's request regarding what Trump was referring to.

Officer's name, photo used in false account

A fictitious Facebook account, including an offensive meme, was created using the name of a police officer in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, according to The Citizens' Voice newspaper.

Local police are investigating the fake post, which uses patrolman Rick Harding's name and photo. A police spokesman told The Citizens' Voice that Harding has never had a Facebook account and the photo was taken from the officer's LinkedIn page.

The meme reportedly showed a girl with a developmental disability and used an offensive term to refer to her, according to the Citizens' Voice.

While detectives are trying to identify the creator of the account, officials have not yet determined if the action has violated any criminal statutes, the Citizens' Voice said. The Facebook page has been removed.

Fake Twitter post leads to false death report

The Associated Press last week removed a story about the death of Oscar-winning film director Costa Gavras.

Gavras is alive and recently spoke on Greek state television, AP said.

The story was based on a tweet believed to be from the Greek Culture Ministry, AP said. The ministry said the message came from a fake Twitter account.

Gavras, 85, is a director and writer known for the films "Z," "Amen" and "Missing," which earned him an Academy Award in 1983, according to

'Raised by single mom' claim exaggerated

A candidate for governor in California exaggerated his claim that he was raised by a single mother on the South Side of Chicago, according to The Washington Post.

Republican nominee John H. Cox, facing opponent Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has said throughout this and previous campaigns - including for congressman in Illinois' 10th District in 2000 and for U.S. senator from Illinois in 2002 - that he was raised by a single mother, the Post said.

Cox said his biological father left shortly after he was born, the Post said. Records indicate Cox's mother married post office worker Thomas Cox 3½ years after Cox's father left her. Records also show the family then moved to Alsip.

The campaign recently updated its website, removing the claim that Cox was "raised by a single mom in the Midwest," according to the Post.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

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