Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wished that the Steelers had stood during the national anthem, the player said in a Monday statement.
Roethlisberger claimed he hadn’t been able to sleep after the Steelers decided to wait in the tunnel, wondering if the team should have come out to stand for the anthem instead.
“I was unable to sleep last night and want to share my thoughts and feelings on our team’s decision to remain in the tunnel for the National Anthem yesterday. The idea was to be unified as a team when so much attention is paid to things dividing our country, but I wish we approached it differently. We did not want to appear divided on the sideline with some standing and some kneeling or sitting,” Roethlisberger wrote in the statement.
The Steelers decided to wait in the tunnel instead of coming out while the anthem played. Starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a combat veteran and former Army Ranger, was the only player to defect. The bronze star recipient came out with his hand over his heart while the anthem played.
Roethlisberger said he hoped the team would come forward to honor the anthem in the future, noting that the Steelers’ Sunday decision had nothing to do with protesting the anthem or flag
“I appreciate the unique diversity in my team and throughout the league and completely support the call for social change and the pursuit of true equality. Moving forward, I hope standing for the Anthem shows solidarity as a nation, that we stand united in respect for the people on the front lines protecting our freedom and keeping us safe. God bless those men and women,” Roethlisberger said.
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