The Pittsburgh Steelers made the controversial decision on Sunday to remain in the tunnel during the national anthem in the wake of President Donald Trump’s remarks urging players to stand out of respect for the country.
It seems Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was unable to stay silent about his team’s move any longer. The NFL superstar released a statement on Monday revealing he was “unable to sleep” on Sunday night after the display:
“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 or some kneeling or sitting.
As a team, it was not a protest of the flag or the Anthem. I personally don’t believe the Anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest. For me, and many others on my team and around the league, it is a tribute to those who commit to serve and protect our country, current and past, especially the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Roethlisberger concluded his statement by making it clear he plans to stand for the anthem going forward:
“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.”
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger says he regrets standing in tunnel with team for national anthem pic.twitter.com/4hkoC8o7o1
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 25, 2017
Roethlisberger clearly wasn’t the only Steeler who had a problem with staying off the field for the national anthem.
Offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, the former Army Ranger seen above, stood alone outside of the tunnel with his hand over his heart during the anthem, causing his jersey sales to skyrocket.
The debate over the national anthem in the NFL seems far from over.
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