Ben Roethlisberger: Steelers should not have stayed in tunnel during anthem
The Pittsburgh Steelers presented their decision to stay off the field during the national anthem on Sunday as a unified decision to avoid controversy, but it is becoming quite clear that the move was controversial with some players.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger issued a statement via his official website on Monday saying that he felt the team should have approached the situation 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,” Roethlisberger wrote. “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.”
Roethlisberger went on to say that he personally doesn’t believe it appropriate to protest during the national anthem, and that standing united would have represented more solidarity.
“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,” Roethlisberger wrote. “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.”
The decision to stay in the tunnel was supposed to project unity, but between Roethlisberger’s statement and one player’s actions, it’s clear that the decision did not have the impact that Mike Tomlin likely hoped it would.