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#pounditFriday, December 4, 2020

Steelers’ Stephon Tuitt explains why he will not kneel for national anthem

More NFL players than ever are expected to take part in national anthem protests when the 2020 season begins, but one player who will not partake is Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt.

Tuitt took to Twitter on Monday to emphatically state that he will not kneel during the national anthem before games. He explained that his mother immigrated to the United States from a Caribbean island and worked hard to bring several other family members with her, which is why he and his family are proud to be Americans.

Tuitt’s view on national anthem protests could create an interesting dynamic for the Steelers. One of their team leaders, defensive lineman Cam Heyward, said earlier this offseason that he wants Steelers players to “stay united” with whatever they choose to do this season.

“I think we want to stay united in what we do and what we want to accomplish,” Heyward said, via The Associated Press. “Coach (Mike Tomlin) has always told me if we win the Super Bowl, that’s not enough in the city of Pittsburgh. We want to leave lasting change among the community as well. For us, we’re going to have those opportunities to branch out and be individuals and affect our community (off the field).”

Heyward also expressed regret over the way Pittsburgh’s locker room was divided three years ago when offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, stood alone on the sideline during the national anthem. The Steelers do not want a repeat of that in 2020, so they will need to have some discussions about how they’re going to handle the anthem before the season begins.

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