Mike Tomlin, and the entire Pittsburgh Steelers roster, remained in the locker room during the singing of the national anthem, in response to Donald Trump’s comments in relation to protesting NFL athletes.
As the Chicago Bears prepared to take the field on Sunday against the Steelers, the team was no where in sight as the national anthem played before the start of the event. Head coach of the six-time champions, Mike Tomlin, alerted reporters before the game that it was the team’s decision to remain in the locker room as the national anthem was being played, after Trump was critical of players who kneel during the anthem.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 24, 2017
“We’re not participating in the anthem today. 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,” said Tomlin.
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
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
“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.”
Trump caused a wave of adversity behind his recent comments, calling for NFL owners to fire any athlete who knelt during the playing of the national anthem. In that same breath, the president also suggested that fans should leave events in which the players are protesting.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now,'” Trump said at a rally in Alabama on Friday. “‘He is fired.'”
Steven E. Johnson is a journalist who covers social injustice and political issues. You can contact him at stevejlive at gmail dot com. Follow on Twitter: @stevenjtweets