Tech | October 13, 2017 5:00 am

How a Combat-Wounded Vet Fights an Anti-Kneeling Internet Meme

Earl Granville is working hard to make sure people know the real story.

Earl Granville had his photograph taken by Outside Magazine after he completed a 60-hour, 70-plus mile Spartan Race. It’s a two-and-a-half day race so exhausting it comes with the tagline, “Every man dies, but not every man lives.”

Granville, who has a prosthetic leg, has made headlines for carrying his race guide, Andi Piscopo over his shoulder at the Boston Marathon, writes The Daily Beastbut more recently, he started receiving messages about that picture from the Spartan Race. Someone with strong political ideas had taken that photo and started to use it to make money on shirts.

In the photo, Granville is wearing a shirt with the Agoge logo on it, but someone had photoshopped “I don’t kneel” below an American flag, reports The Daily Beast. Granville is not sure who did it, but he’s working hard on getting it taken down.


The shirt has been sold all around the web, and a store called “ineel” was even created around it (the site has since been taken down), according to The Daily Beast. There was also an associated Facebook page called “Veteran Talk,” now “Veteran’s Pride,” which has blocked Granville after he sent them a message.

Then, “The Political Insider,” a verified Facebook page with three million subscribers shared the photoshopped image along with a caption, “Thank Him for His Service. Share,” according to The Daily Beast. Granville tried to get them to take it down by sending them a message via Facebook messenger, but to no avail. The post currently has 57,880 shares, 9,200 comments, and 64,000 likes.

Granville lost his leg in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan nine years ago. Since then, he has participated in any marathon or endurance race possible. His brother committed suicide while on active duty two years after Earl returned from combat, The Daily Beast reports, which encouraged Granville to dedicate his life to advocating ways to prevent suicide.

“I talk about my ideas of battling mental adversity in living a fulfilling life full of a purpose, a passion, and a part of something bigger than ourselves,” he said to The Daily Beast. 

He gives speeches to try to help people who are struggling, and has been trying to take down all the doctored images of himself because “he’s not here to talk about what my stance is.” He said that he understands it’s a “hot item at the moment, ” but he decided to step in when he saw somebody profiting off of it. A nonprofit he works for has been filing cease-and-desist letters against anyone profiting off his identity, reports The Daily Beast. 

He hopes people will hear his real story about “channeling adversity into superhuman strength,” writes The Daily Beast.