Ben Roethlisberger on Steelers Decision to Remain in Locker Room for Anthem: ‘I Wish we had Approached it Differently’

AP Gene Puskar
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Monday morning quarterbacking is a time-honored NFL tradition, where everyone second-guesses the Sunday decisions made on the field which seemed like good ideas at the time. Yet, after the fact, turned out to be grave errors in judgment.

However, this Monday, we have a certain quarterback regretting a decision he and his teammates made off the field.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, expressed regret on his personal website on Monday, over his team’s decision to not come out of the locker room for the national anthem on Sunday. A decision that was observed and followed by the whole team, except for Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva.

Roethlisberger wrote:

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. 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.

As a team, it was not a protest of the flag or the Anthem. I personally don’t believe the Anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest. For me, and many others on my team and around the league, it is a tribute to those who commit to serve and protect our country, current and past, especially the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice.

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. 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.

Serious credit has to go to Roethlisberger in this case. It’s obvious to everyone possessing the sense that God gave to the everyday farm animal, that what the Steelers, Seahawks, and Titans did yesterday, by not coming out for the anthem. Constituted an act of disgraceful treachery at worst, and the extreme end of idiocy, at best. However, Roethlisberger’s willingness to say this knowing the backlash he might face from the media, plus his own teammates, takes guts.

Not to mention the backlash he might fave from his own head coach, Mike Tomlin. Who, in the post-game press conference, ripped Afghan veteran Alejandro Villanueva for going against the team, and standing for the anthem.

Pittsburgh is in an interesting spot, both as a team and a city. It’s not the warm, fuzzy den of leftist fanaticism that Colin Kaepernick snuggled up to in 2016. While not a traditional red state, western Pennsylvania, home of the Steelers, tends to be a very patriotic and at least relatively, socially conservative area. The stunt the Steelers pulled on Sunday can’t be playing well in those environs.

Maybe Ben Roethlisberger is listening to them?


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