Refusing to stand for the national anthem has become a controversial and sensitive topic in the United States. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced they would not be leaving the locker room until after the traditional opening of the football game, on Sept. 24, 2017.
They are taking this stand during the third week of the NFL season. The timing is significant because Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest first gained national attention in game three of the 2016 season.
Not being on the field until after “The Star-Spangled Banner” is how the Steelers are showing unity. Mike Tomlin, head coach for the team, told CBS News that the team was not going to participate in politics. He stated that he supports his players’ individual choices about whether or not they stand. Tomlin explained that he told them if they were going to protest they would do it as a team.
While not directly naming who is engaging the NFL in politics, it is likely he meant Donald Trump. Last week, the president said NFL team owners should suspend or fire players who do not stand in honor of the stars and stripes.
Since Kaepernick took a knee in protest, increasing numbers of players are kneeling in unison.
Written by Cathy Milne
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Behind the Steele Curtain: Report: Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be participating in National Anthem in Week 3
SB Nation: A timeline of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest and the athletes who joined him
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Andy McLemore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License