One Pittsburgh Steelers player regrets the way he didn’t stand up for the National Anthem on Sunday Night.
In a post on his website, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger explained his distress over how the team handled the NFL protests. He said the matter bothered him so much that it kept him awake. He says he wished they had shown their unity differently.
“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,” wrote Roethlisberger.
On Sunday night, all of the Steelers, except for head coach Mike Tomlin, several assistant coaches, and offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, stayed in the tunnel during the national anthem. Their decision came during a game against the Chicago Bears shortly after President Trump’s comments on NFL protests.
Roethlisberger continued, ”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.”
As it was, former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva was forced to stand alone. This revealed that there was still division among the teammates.
"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,” added Roethlisberger.
He concluded, “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."
Later on Monday, Roethlisberger commented on the situation again. ESPN reported the interview.
He told reporters, “I just felt like I wish that we would have been on the field. That's just my personal feeling on it. I'm entitled to that opinion. That's what's great about this country and what the troops are for. I wish we could have stood out there. What was important was being united as well, and that's what we showed," he said.
He also revealed that the team has not made their decision to stay in the tunnel a permanent one. The Steelers will be on the field for the anthem going forward this season.
"Moving forward, we will be on the field. What we do while we're out there is yet to be determined. I know I want to be on the field, Cam [Heyward] wants to be on the field, and the guys in that locker room want to be on the field."
Do you appreciate that he spoke up? Let us know in the comments. In other NFL news, one player was fired for what he did on the field.