Zach Ertz could have crushed Fox News after the cable network used photos of him kneeling before games in a misleading fashion during a broadcast.
Instead, the Eagles’ 27-year-old Pro Bowl tight end took the high road.
“I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t upset, I think it was just kind of disappointed,” Ertz said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not going to judge who created the video and I don’t know what they’re going through as an individual, what the network wanted them to do. I’m not here to judge anyone. I was disappointed a little bit, obviously, but at the same time, I’m not there to judge them. I just go about my day. I think that was kind of sad.
“I was most disappointed about, I feel like our community right now, there’s either one side or the other. Whereas in my opinion, everyone should be trying to build up this country, build up everyone. No one should be trying to prove, beat down their point. It’s not my job to beat down my opinion over someone else or vice versa. That’s all I was kind of disappointed about.”
The original piece that aired on Fox News Tuesday was about President Donald Trump’s disinviting the Eagles from the White House “due to the national anthem policy.” That’s when they showed several photos of Eagles players kneeling in prayer before games (see story).
Ertz and defensive end Chris Long responded to the piece after it was sent out of Twitter from the Fox News Twitter account, which has 17.9 million followers. Later in the morning, the Twitter account did send out an apology and the station apologized on air much later in the day — the tweet of that on-air apology was sent at 12:07 a.m. Wednesday.
Long explained why he felt the need to stick up for his teammates.
“We have great men in our locker room, men of faith, might have a different higher power they’re praying to,” Long said. “But for guys who are praying to be misrepresented by a major news network, I thought that was irresponsible. I’m not taking a side there, I’m just calling it how I see it. They apologized a little after midnight last night on the air. It is what it is. We have great guys in this locker room and I just hate seeing their names dragged through the mud like that.”
When asked, Ertz said he never thought about a defamation of character lawsuit. He said he hasn’t received an individual apology from Fox News, nor does he covet one.
“I just hope as media members, I feel like people should try and get the facts right and not skew it one way or the other,” Ertz said. “In terms of an apology, I don’t need an apology. I just hope people will learn from it and get better. Because when I make a mistake on the football field, I learn from it and get better. And that’s what I hope happens.”