The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team remained in their locker room during the playing of the national anthem at their game Sunday in protest of President Trump’s attacks on NFL players for kneeling during the anthem.
Photos shared on social media show an empty Steelers’ sideline as the anthem played.
As promised, the Steelers players didn't come out onto the sidelines for today's National Anthem in Chicago pic.twitter.com/FHQdynKKaI
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 24, 2017
The Steelers were not on the sidelines during the national anthem. LT Alejandro Villanueva, who served in the Army, stood by the tunnel pic.twitter.com/teTCoJ3vFx
— Master Tesfatsion (@MasterTes) September 24, 2017
National Anthem taking place in Chicago. Steelers sideline. On the other sideline Bears players standing in with arms locked hands on hearts pic.twitter.com/M7deTBF1Me
— StaceyDales (@StaceyDales) September 24, 2017
“We’re not participating in the anthem today,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin revealed before the game. “Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, to remove ourselves from the circumstance. People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides.”
“If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. So we’re not participating today. That’s our decision. We’re gonna be 100 percent,” he told CBS.
Trump on Friday called on NFL owners to fire any player who kneels during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now,'” Trump said at a rally in Alabama on Friday. “‘He is fired.'”
Trump’s comments were met with rebukes from multiple NFL players and the head of the NFL players’ union as well as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who called Trump’s comments “divisive” and said they showed a “lack of respect for the NFL.”