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GOP Legislator Claimed 'Illegal Invaders' Landed in Detroit — It Was Actually Gonzaga's March Madness Team

Gonzaga and three other college basketball teams landed in Detroit on Wednesday, the Wayne County Airport Authority confirmed to multiple outlets

<p>State Representative Matt Maddock Facebook</p> State Representative Matt Maddock

State Representative Matt Maddock Facebook

State Representative Matt Maddock
  • Michigan Rep. Matt Maddock falsely claimed that "illegal invaders" had landed in Detroit on a flight carrying the Gonzaga Men's Basketball team

  • The Wayne County Airport Authority confirmed to multiple outlets that it was four basketball teams arriving by plane on Wednesday

  • On Friday, Maddock reposted a video acknowledging the claims as "wrong" information

Matt Maddock, a Republican state representative for Michigan, is under fire after he falsely claimed that the buses transporting Gonzaga's March Madness team at the Detroit Metro airport were "loaded up with illegal invaders" in a social media post.

On Wednesday evening, Maddock, 58, posted two images taken at the airport in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. One image showed three large buses and the other showed an Allegiant Airlines airplane on the ground.

Maddock wrote, "Happening right now. Three busses just loaded up with illegal invaders at Detroit Metro. Anyone have any idea where they’re headed with their police escort?" in his post.

However, the buses were for the Gonzaga men's basketball team to transport them as they compete in the NCAA March Madness Tournament, according to CNN, NBC, the Associated Press and Michigan Senate Majority Whip Mallory McMorrow.

On Thursday, McMorrow, a Democrat, called out Maddock — who describes himself as the "Most Conservative State Representative" in his X bio — and slammed his "dangerous" claims in her own post on the social network.

"A sitting State Representative sees a group of busses at the airport and immediately yells “illegal invaders” which is a pretty rude (and also, frankly, dangerous) way to greet the Gonzaga Men’s Basketball Team arriving for March Madness," McMorrow wrote.

The Wayne County Airport Authority confirmed that four college basketball teams arrived by plane on Wednesday evening in statements to CNN and NBC.

“The four men’s basketball teams competing in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 at Little Caesars Arena arrived at DTW Wednesday evening," the statement read, per CNN.

"The buses seen in a photograph circulating online were transporting the basketball teams and their respective staffs."

PEOPLE has contacted the Wayne County Airport Authority for comment.

<p>Christian Petersen/Getty Images</p> Jamari McDowell #11 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives to the basket against Anton Watson #22 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second half in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Jamari McDowell #11 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives to the basket against Anton Watson #22 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second half in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

According to an Allegiant spokesperson who spoke to CNN, the only Allegiant flight to the Detroit Metro on Wednesday was the one carrying the Gonzaga team from Spokane, Washington, entirely debunking Maddock's harmful claims.

In the photos of the Gonzaga team boarding their flight to Detroit, shared prior to Maddock's false claim, the team is seen standing in front of an Allegiant airplane.

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The Associated Press reached Maddock by text message, where he refused to acknowledge that his claims were false. Maddock wrote, “I haven’t heard a good answer yet. I took a tip and asked because this is happening in many places and it is well documented."

On Friday, Maddock reposted a video by a user on X named Garrett Soldano acknowledging that Maddock was incorrect about who the buses were for.

However, Soldano continued to expound false claims about "illegal invaders" in the video.

The Gonzaga men's basketball team will play Purdue University in the March Madness tournament on Friday.

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