Los Angeles’ struggle of not having an NFL team to suddenly getting two teams that no one asked for has been well documented. Fox didn’t help matters with a casting call for “LA’s biggest NFL fans to be a part of #NFLSunday’s Los Angeles Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles Pre Game Show.”

The casting notice (which has since been updated) then linked to an audience casting agency offering free tickets. So there was a perception that Fox was asking people to act like Rams fans. This perception isn’t entirely unfounded given the unmitigated dumpster fire that was the Rams 2016 season. Traffic, a limited amount of formal parking, brawls in the stands, lack of an upper deck, and the occasional Los Angeles heat wave are a few things that keep some fans from actually paying for tickets.

Since Fox is the place that formerly employed Stacey Dash as a “political consultant” and welcomed Bill O’Reilly back with open arms after multiple women accused him of sexual assault, the network naturally went on the defensive.

“There is a notion among several sports blogs that we are paying actors to be Rams fans and that is absolutely not the case,” read a statement by Eddie Motul, Vice President of Communications at FOX Sports and FS1. “Our set is located inside the stadium. Our show airs at 9:00 am PT when the stadium is technically not open to the public so therefore we needed to “bring in” a live audience.”

For what it’s worth, the Rams lead the NFC West division with a 9-3 record, and the team looks poised to make a playoff run after getting Jeff Fisher out of the paint. There are mixed reactions about both attending an NFL game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and about the likely gentrification that will happen in Inglewood when the Rams and Chargers eventually open their shared stadium there.

As for Fox, it might take more than some free tickets to convince people to get excited about trekking to the Coliseum at 9:00 in the morning when a good portion of everything north of the 101 Freeway has been on fire all week.

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