Pittsburgh Steelers Stay in Locker Room During National Anthem, Except for One Player

AP Gene J. Puskar
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that the entire team would refuse to take the field during the playing of the national anthem, but the plan seems to violate league rules.

The team reportedly intended to stay in their locker room, Sunday, as the anthem is played for fans in the stadium, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

There was no word if the team intended to stay in the locker room for the rest of the season or if this was to be a one-off event.

However, a short time after the team’s intentions were reported, a reporter for The Washington Post insisted that this protest would be a violation of league rules. Sports reporter Mark Maske noted that all players are required to take the field during the anthem according to league rules:

This is how it looked when the Steelers coaching staff took the sidelines:

However, one Steeler did take the field for the anthem, it was Alejandro Villanueva. An offensive lineman who served three tours in Afghanistan:


The discussion comes two days after President Donald Trump spoke about his dislike of NFL national anthem protests.

During a speech in Huntsville, Alabama, at a rally for Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange, President Trump attacked NFL players like Colin Kaepernick for launching protests against the country and flag during the playing of the national anthem. Trump said that he hopes those players are removed from the field and said he’d “love” to see NFL owners fire them.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say: ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired!’ They don’t know it,” Trump said at the September 22 rally. “They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person in the country.”

The sports world has been aflame since the president’s comments.

Trump’s attack led to a statement issued by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell which attacked the president. Goodell’s statement in turn provoked a rejoinder by Trump.

The controversy also led to over a dozen members of both the Ravens and Jaguars to take their protest to foreign soil with a demonstration held during the national anthem as they prepared for a game in London, England, on Saturday night.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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