TORCHED: Steeler Fans Set Gear Ablaze Over National Anthem Protest

APPhotoGeneJ.Puskar 2
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Pittsburgh Steelers fans are so incensed at their team for sitting out the National Anthem on Sunday that they are posting videos online of themselves torching their Steelers gear.

“I’m a lifelong Steelers fan, not anymore. Not a fan of you, the NFL, any of it,” said Jim Heaney in a video he posted on YouTube.

Heaney, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, threw his Steelers gear into a fire pit in protest of the team’s decision to stay in the locker room while the National Anthem played at Sunday’s game.

“And I hope all your ignorance burns too,” Heaney says before he throws several items into the fire.

Heaney ended the video by saying, “There you go, goodbye Pittsburgh Steelers, burn in hell, Semper Fi.”

Robert Williams of Texas also posted a video on YouTube showing him set hundreds of dollars worth of Steelers gear ablaze.

“We have morals in this country. We stand for this country. My great uncle’s bones are lying in the bottom of Pearl Harbor for this country, for the flag, for your freedom to play in the NFL and to say whatever you want to say. But you do not disrespect the flag and the country and the Constitution. So watch this stuff burn,” Williams said.

Williams’ video gained more than 50,000 views since Sunday.

Steelers’ fans have also taken to Twitter to post videos of themselves burning Steelers gear.

Arvin Gibbs, a veteran and Steelers fan since 1966, tweeted a video of himself torching his Steelers sweatshirt and hat while playing the National Anthem in the background and holding an American flag:

Christos Kallas also posted a video to YouTube, stressing that he does not support anyone who decides not to stand for the National Anthem regardless of political views or skin color.

“I am no longer am a Steelers fan or of anyone that will not stand for our anthem no matter your political views or color of your skin. I hope your sport goes up in flames like my shirt did,” said Kallas.

The Steelers’ head coach, Mike Tomlin, said the team decided not to leave the locker room after a meeting on Saturday.

Tomlin stood on the sidelines without his team.

One Steelers team member, however, decided to defy his teammates’ protest. Former Army Ranger and starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva took the field Sunday and placed his hand on his heart while the anthem played.

Tomlin blasted Villanueva’s decision to skip the team’s protest, saying that he was “looking for 100 percent participation” from the team.


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