The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most storied franchises in NFL history.
And on Sunday, they’re going to make an entirely new kind of history.
The Steelers players and coaching staff decided that instead of protesting or kneeling during the national anthem, they will boycott it altogether.
Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed with CBS before the game that the Steelers will remain in the locker room for the duration of the national anthem.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 24, 2017
“These are very divisive times for our country,” Tomlin said.
The coach reiterated that this was as much for team unity as it was for any protest. He said that he told his team that he would be supportive of any actions they felt necessary to take, but wanted to do it together as a team.
“We’re not going to let divisive times, or divisive individuals, affect our agenda [of winning a Super Bowl],” Tomlin said. One can surmise that he was referring to President Donald Trump in his statements.
One Steeler did come out for the anthem: offensive lineman Alejandro Villaneuva, who is a military vet.
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 24, 2017
At a rally on Friday, Trump criticized NFL owners for not disciplining players who kneel during the anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now?’” Trump said. “You know, some owner … is going to say, ‘That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’”
This is quite a bold move by the Steelers. Refusing to even be present to acknowledge the national anthem is akin to turning one’s back during the anthem.
It’s a move that not even Colin Kaepernick dared to make.
Ironically, the Steelers will now be making this very divisive move as a team.
The Steelers are playing at Soldier Field — a stadium dedicated to the memory of U.S. soldiers who have died in combat –against the Chicago Bears.
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