The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to not come onto the field for the anthem on Sunday. After doing so Big Ben expresses regret. Here is his full statement, per BigBen7.com:
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.
Roethlisberger also made it clear that he plans on being back on the field next week when the National Anthem plays.
Ben also said that he, Cam Heyward, and Alejandro Villanueva had planned on standing at the edge of the tunnel together, but people coming off the field prevented it.
“This is in no way shape or form a protest of the national anthem. It was a way for us to stay unified,” Roethlisberger said.
As previously reported, former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva was the lone Steeler to come out for the anthem Sunday. He stood with his hand over his heart and sang along.