The billionaire owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers has posted an open letter telling fans he is upset at them for being unhappy with the team’s national anthem protest last Sunday.
Steelers president Art Rooney II was apparently alarmed at fans burning their jerseys and so tried his hand at explaining away what his team did.
During the NFL’s Week 3 game between the Pittsburg Kneelers… er, I mean Steelers… and the Chicago Bears, the Pittsburghers decided not to take the filed to stand for the national anthem.
One player defied the team’s decision to avoid standing for the anthem, but it quickly emerged that coach Mike Tomlin was furious that the player took the field and stood for the anthem.
Many fans were not amused by their team’s stance against the anthem and in the days after the game fans began posting videos of themselves burning their Steelers merchandise.
The whole mess has apparently angered Rooney who has now put out a letter to fans telling them that they don’t understand what coach Tomlin and the team was attempting to do during that game in Chicago.
To Steelers Nation:
I want to reach out to you, the members of Steelers Nation, based on what I believe is a misperception about our players’ intentions in not taking the field for the National Anthem in Chicago. The intentions of Steelers players were to stay out of the business of making political statements by not taking the field. Unfortunately, that was interpreted as a boycott of the anthem – which was never our players’ intention.
That is a bit hard to believe. If you weren’t making a statement against the anthem, then why not just come out and stand for it like you should have?
Rooney went on:
Our players come from many different backgrounds and are united by what it means to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are active in their communities and participate regularly in events designed to give back to those communities. And they appreciate the support they get from Steelers fans around the country and here at home.
I also know that our players have tremendous respect for the members of our military services, including their teammate Alejandro Villanueva. There was never any desire on the part of our players to show disrespect for our service members.
He mentioned an email he had received.
Yesterday, I received an email from a Steelers fan who said tell the players to just play football. That is exactly what they wanted to do. They wanted their sole focus to be on playing the game, while also coming together as a unified team.
The main thing we can do is learn from this and strive to come together remaining unified as a football team. I believe we are capable of accomplishing this with the support of our fans.
Steelers Nation is made up of the best fans in the National Football League. We appreciate your continued support of our players, coaches and staff.
Sounds like Rooney and his team were trying to take the coward’s way out and it STILL backfired.
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