Ben Roethlisberger having second thoughts about Steelers anthem stance

Getty Images

The Steelers already had one player step out of line regarding their team stance on the national anthem.

Now, another one is wondering if they did the right thing.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put out a statement on his personal website wondering if the team did the right thing by staying in the locker room during the anthem yesterday. While they voted on the decision as a team, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva left the locker room and could be seen standing alone in the tunnel.

Some players understood his decision, since he’s a former Army Ranger who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan. But in his statement Roethlisberger seemed most interested in making sure everyone knows he likes America too.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

If coach Mike Tomlin’s goal was to keep the team together and keep them from becoming pawns in a political game, he needs to gather his pieces together. Because it seems like some of them might be uncomfortable with the decision made, and the blowback that came from it.

80 responses to “Ben Roethlisberger having second thoughts about Steelers anthem stance

  1. If that’s opinion, fine. That’s his right. As it is the right of those protesting (police brutality which has gotten lost on all the debate). It’s 2017 and we’re debating free speech. Unreal.

  2. This is going to cost the NFL millions in a combination of a bruised brand (which was gold plated 2 years ago), lower ratings, lower ad revenue, lower attendance, etc. Not sure how they get out of this one.

  3. It’s not rocket science… Stand and lock arms. Respect given, point taken, no distraction or locker room division.

  4. Better idea: Stand for the flag and the veterans who gave their lives to defend what we take for granted. Then in your free time, advocate and volunteer for the less fortunate.

    I’m tired of this democrats vs republicans bull****. Time for people to just be people and not a political party

  5. Bu tBut…I don’t wanna be a “Kneeler” too late now Ben. Tomlin has spoken volumes for all of you, so has Alejandro Villanueva……You stayed in with the malcontents

  6. Too smart, too late.

    The players would receive more respect if they would agree to stand during the anthem and lock arms as they stand.

    The players didn’t really think through the consequences of their actions. Whether or not their actions constitute an act of disrespect is a matter of perception by fans.

    The fact that millions DO see it as a measure of disrespect should have given the players reason to pause and consider a better approach to getting their point across. As such, their kneeling has caused the players’ concerns to fall on deaf ears.

    It’s really hard for blue collar fans to feel sorry for millionaires who do nothing more than take a knee. What would be far more helpful is if the players actually DID something worthwhile for their cause – and very, very few of them are or are willing to do that.

  7. I have newfound respect for Ben and I feel nothing but pride for the lone steeler who stood for anthem. It is a job keep it professional . The lone man has the heart of a lion. I’m not surprised he is a veteran

  8. Here, here Ben. Something was left out though.

    Ask yourselves, “How much better the United States of America is today, than 60 years ago? 100-241 years ago?”

    That flag & anthem, with all their faults, are the beacon of hope that things CAN get better.

  9. If you want to bring unity and fellowship with your fellow Americans you STAND together for the anthem.

    That is the whole point of the Anthem. We can have political differences but as a country there needs to be common ground we can all stand on together. It is a gesture that we all believe in each other and we believe in achieving the best for us all.

    The media and the people kneeling are trying to tear us apart. People wearing pig socks tear us apart.

  10. Trump is gonna win again in 2020 because of all of this. He has a lot of silent supporters. Hollywood and the NFL is only helping him but they fail to realize it.

  11. The fact that a former service member who did three tours overseas standing for the national anthem can be called “stepping out of line” in any way, shape, or form, shows why the majority of people are disgusted with all of this.

    I get it – some players, some celebrities, and journalists, think this is a good protest or whatever. Is it still confusing for you guys as to why the majority of folks disagree? Seriously?

  12. Neither the flag nor the anthem are the property of the military. The flag does not represent the armed forces. It represents the principles for which the United States stands, for each individual and for each viewpoint contained therein.

  13. Just my opinion but I feel like staying in the locker room during the anthem was a cowardly way to duck this issue. These are grown men. Let them come out on the field and stand with their hand over their heart or take a knee as they see fit. Does Tomlin plan on doing this for every game all season? Will any of the Pittsburgh lapdog sportswriters ask Tomlin this?

  14. We arent debating free speech browns fan. We are debating appropriate place/time for SOME things. Particularly protests that involve actions that appear to many as disrespectful to the country and have no real purpose. You accomplish jack squat by kneeling or stretching or whatever else during the anthem except to either have the media praise you or many Americans upset at you.

  15. Villanueva was the only Steeler wo did the right thing.

    The NFL will follow his lead or it will lose most of it’s fans.

  16. They lost to the 0-2 Bears after allowing only 101 passing yards to the most one-dimensional offense in the league….and the anthem is why Big Ben couldn’t sleep last night?

  17. So was Ben protesting white privilege or incompetence of police tactics – which of those allow him to be free man after 2 sexual assaults?

  18. I hope they’re all having second thoughts. Instead of focusing on a win and therefore home field advantage in the playoffs they were too worried about public relations, optics, and personal politics. And it showed on the scoreboard.

    Mike Tomlin’s record in his last 18 games against teams with losing records is 5-13. Let that sink in.

  19. Waaayyyy too late now Benny Boy.

    You made your choice yesterday. As did Al, the difference is Al was man enough to go against the grain and stand up for what he believed in.

  20. Hey if you yahoos dont get what this is all about then go take your flags and put them in the back of your pickups and driver around like a bunch of lost clowns. Get a clue!

  21. Remember when the Cowboys were not allowed to put a sticker on their helmets supporting the local police after some of their members were assassinated protecting a BLM rally? Yet anti-america protests are fair game. Wow.

  22. This is complete damage control.

    With the backlash the Steelers are getting there is no doubt someone from above wanted the franchise QB to address Steeler Nation to try and put out the flames. Trust me, this is from the top. If something really bothers you that much and “keeps you awake at night” you don’t read a prepared statement, you speak from the heart.

  23. tonyzendejas says:
    September 25, 2017 at 3:44 pm
    Neither the flag nor the anthem are the property of the military. The flag does not represent the armed forces. It represents the principles for which the United States stands, for each individual and for each viewpoint contained therein.
    =====================================================

    Wrong, it represents the people who serve in the armed forces and those who have fought and died for our country. That’s why members of the military are always on the field to represent when it is playing. It’s not for “each individual and for each viewpoint contained therein”. Try reading the words sometime.

  24. I’ve been a Steeler fan for 30 years. I’ve always been proud of the way the organization has been run, and indeed the Steelers have been one of the top respected Pro Franchises as voted by the fans, and other professional owners, within and without the NFL.
    Yesterday was the first time I was ever embarrassed to be a Steeler fan. My hope is that the organization will do their best to make this right quickly. Nothing can ever un-do what has already happened, but I would love to see the Steelers, and the whole NFL learn from their mistakes and find a better way forward.

  25. exnavysub says:

    ” September 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    We arent debating free speech browns fan. We are debating appropriate place/time for SOME things.”

    So as long as you don’t have to watch them exercise their free speech it’s ok. Yeah, I get it.

  26. I guess his midwestern sensibilities have finally kicked in. It’s different for someone like Brady who grew up in the left coast, Ben grew up in Ohio, the heartland.

  27. “Wrong, it represents the people who serve in the armed forces and those who have fought and died for our country. That’s why members of the military are always on the field to represent when it is playing. It’s not for “each individual and for each viewpoint contained therein”. Try reading the words sometime.”
    =================================================================================

    BOOM!

  28. The “appearance” of unity is a lie, but it had to be done.

    What the NFL REALLY doesn’t want is a perception that black players are kneeling and white players standing.

  29. Can anyone explain how kneeling down during the anthem is actually DOING anything to stop injustice? It is all about having TV cameras placed on you as you pretend to care while doing NOTHING off the field to combat the real issue you say you represent.

  30. This whole “take a knee” crap is disgusting and embarrassing. Since when does disrespecting your flag and your country gain you anything but scorn. Goodell and the NFL have no cojones! The NFL has for a few years now wandered all over the map regarding punishments and allowing the players to be bullied by the commissioner who shows a total lack of understanding of due process. The NFL should be made to conform to the basic tenets of law when it comes to inquiries and punishments. Elliott, who indeed acts like a clueless idiot at times is still afforded the innocent till “proven” guilty by being able to confront and cross examine his accusers. All of them. Withholding testimony as the NFL did should be a crime and be disallowed.

  31. Damage is done Ben…damage is done. You should have joined Alejandro…maybe you would have slept better if you had displayed the same courage he did.

  32. It’s funny that all of the people in the comments that are SO angry and upset are still here paying attention to the NFL. I guess the NFL is more important that the flag, and the anthem, and the soldiers, and Donald Trump, and so on.

  33. No one said that freedom of speech should stop, but that they should be fired which is a valid option. No, you say? People get fired all the time for what they say on social media, for stupid things, and for their beliefs. And more specifically if their beliefs aren’t politically correct. Oh, BTW, Villanueva? You’re the MAN!!!

  34. People are being led into how they are supposed to think and act. It’s time everyone took a minute to reflect on themselves and what they believe in. I have gone from support of Kap last year to being sick and tired of the dog and pony show. It’s no longer about the issues that Kap raised, it’s become about the players. They are confused in believing that we need them, if every protester was fired and replaced, I would not care. Stop the politics and play ball, that’s all many of you know anyway. We know where you’d be if there was no football.

  35. My Parents are Packers fans and both tried to order Villanueva jerseys on the NFL website. Of course I stopped them and said not to give a dime of their money to the greedy pigs at the NFL offices. So we went out for dinner and drinks instead!

  36. Really what difference would it make standing and locking arms. Y’all dont care about the point these guys are trying to make anyway and that’s why the message gets lost. Not because anything they’ve done, its the people watching. America isn’t perfect. I love this country and the opportunities it has given me but it has degraded and killed just as many people in this world as it has uplifted. That’s just fact. But so many people are so blindly patriotic or think their opinions are fact. When veterans even say they aren’t offended it should show you how blind you are. And most of y’all don’t even contribute to your community let alone the country. But instead of focusing on bettering the country you idiots get caught in your own feelings and fight the people kneeling instead of the people actually ruining this country and this world.

  37. motorcitydiddy | Sep 25, 2017, 2:50 PM CDT
    So was Ben protesting white privilege or incompetence of police tactics – which of those allow him to be free man after 2 sexual assaults?

    One name for you Diddy….Kobe Bryant…enough said. Black Privilege? Stop that crap fool.

  38. wooshelius says:

    Y’all dont care about the point these guys are trying to make anyway and that’s why the message gets lost.
    ===============================================================

    No, the message gets lost because of the way they protest. Hijacking the game we want to watch and using the national anthem. That’s why. Pissing people off is not the way to persuade them to listen to you.

  39. What’s sad here is this has turned into a discussion about standing or sitting for the anthem. Somewhere along the way the actual reason got lost. The reason is important and valid. Choosing to protest it during the anthem is what’s wrong. Trump not even mentioning the actual issue in his dictator style of communication is wrong.

  40. None of you seem to understand these players are paid based on contracts and clearly there is no language in the contracts that forbids them from kneeling. Also “firing” them means “cutting” them and that involves salary cap space no team wants to eat. The terms of there contracts are also tied to the “collective bargaining agreement” between the players and owners and obviously there is nothing in that agreement that prohibits players from kneeling during the national anthem. Therefore they cannot be punished for kneeling. If any owner wants to cut them and risk being sued they are free to do so. Maybe all of you who are calling for that could take up a collection to reimburse their legal fees and judgement against them from the multimillion dollar lawsuit the players would win.

  41. Unified as a football team but disunity for the country?

    The whole rationale puts the lie to their claim that their protest is in the American tradition–they act like a bunch of Stalinist or Nazi commissars, no disagreement allowed.

    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, these brain-damaged football players really are geniuses in the rough.

    The players aren’t expected to lead or be intelligent, if any are that’s a plus but not expected or required.

    The coaches, however, should all be fired.

  42. You seem to forget that this all started by one many “quietly” sitting on the bench. He did not look for the cameras or make noise. The cameras found him and the media followed. Funny, all the people talking about “hijacking the game” and “distraction” and “selfish primadonnas” all started from a quite protest. Just the way white people have always encourage minorities to do it and people still have a problem with it.

  43. tonyzendejas says:
    September 25, 2017 at 3:44 pm
    Neither the flag nor the anthem are the property of the military. The flag does not represent the armed forces. It represents the principles for which the United States stands, for each individual and for each viewpoint contained therein.
    ————————–

    Boom!
    This post is perfect.
    Exactly what I was going to say.

    If you don’t understand this…you have no idea what our country is about, nor what our soldiers have sacrificed for.

  44. bonitalocal says:

    tonyzendejas says:

    Neither the flag nor the anthem are the property of the military. The flag does not represent the armed forces. It represents the principles for which the United States stands, for each individual and for each viewpoint contained therein.
    ————————–

    Boom!
    This post is perfect.
    Exactly what I was going to say.

    If you don’t understand this…you have no idea what our country is about, nor what our soldiers have sacrificed for.
    ==========================================================

    I was an airborne infantryman for 24 years with six combat tours. I suspect you aren’t. The national anthem is about the sacrifice of our military. Just like our constitution, the left is trying to spin the national anthem into what they want it to be, not what it is.

  45. I’ve lost respect for Tomlin and the Steelers organization for this. Saying sorry later does not qualify. This matter should not have been up for debate or a team vote the playing of the anthem is not about black and white but America n and respect for the nation. If you do not respect it then get out of the country, but they (entitlement generation of football players) would not get those salaries which the anthem was for.

  46. I hate that politics has come into football. But as the daughter of a veteran, I support the freedoms for which my dad fought and that means respecting everyone’s right to protest. Ben has an unfortunate habit of speaking when he shouldn’t. Nothing is gained by second-guessing. They voted, they acted. That’s it. Next time, they may choose a different path, but I hope they remain united.

  47. To the entire Steelers organization: I feel the need to organize a protest revolving around the fact that a lot of guys are just masquerading as professional football players, and I have paid to watch actual professionals. With the trash performance most of them put on yesterday, they should have stayed in the tunnel. A few guys played with heart, most just mailed it in….Maybe, spend a few minutes formulating a game plan for this week. Never going to quit being a Steelers fan, but very disgruntled at the moment.

  48. This is all on Tomlin losing control of the situation. Tomlin shows bad team leadership in getting agitated. Say nothing and then act as you feel best for the team. He gets fired up, the Steeler’s and Ben stink it up, now its would of could of etc.

  49. His agent must have called him and told him if he takes another mandatory 8 count this Sunday some of his endorsements are going away.

  50. attonasi says:
    September 25, 2017 at 3:38 pm
    If you want to bring unity and fellowship with your fellow Americans you STAND together for the anthem.

    That is the whole point of the Anthem. We can have political differences but as a country there needs to be common ground we can all stand on together. It is a gesture that we all believe in each other and we believe in achieving the best for us all.

    The media and the people kneeling are trying to tear us apart. People wearing pig socks tear us apart.

    296 31 Rate This

    ============

    The best post I’ve read on this matter anywhere, including the Washington Post and the New York Times.. You are EXACTLY right in my humble opinion.

  51. I love how players protest the flag and then say they aren’t really protesting the flag. You can’t have it both ways, Ben.

  52. Everyone is missing the point. The focus shouldn’t be on how somebody decides to utilize their first amendment correctly. The point should be that doing so is basically doing NOTHING to help bring about any changes to the injustices they are supposedly protesting against. News flash, players: you’re doing nothing to help these injustices. Donating some of your millions of dollars would do so much more than kneeling during the National Anthem.

  53. “Just like our constitution, the left is trying to spin the national anthem into what they want it to be, not what it is.”

    You must’ve slept through your Oath of Enlistment, because the Constitution I promised to defend contains a little something called the Bill of Rights.

  54. Pat Tillman must be turning over in his grave. He gave his life for the flag and his country and some clowns want to kneel during the playing of the national anthem defiling his memory. Sorry Pat, you deserve better.

  55. SeaChickens pulled the same stunt – hid in the locker room and lost. Big team meeting, not about football, but about how to best disrespect this country’s freedom fighters…

  56. Does anybody even understand what the protest is for? Thanks to Kaep it’s not about the social issue. The only discussion is about protesting in general.
    Talk about a failed protest. Nobody is even discussing the original point in hand.

  57. I think Tomlin did the right thing. The National Anthem shouldn’t be turned into a circus. If the whole team can’t stand with respect then they should stay in the locker room. This was a smart move because this issue will divide a lot of locker rooms. I think more teams may opt for this option if the protests continue.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!