Some might call it backpedaling, while others simply call it a change in heart. Either way, the Pittsburgh Steelers are not planning on sitting out the National Anthem moving forward in the regular season, something they did prior to their Week 3 game vs. the Chicago Bears at Solider Field.
The Steelers co-captains, Ben Roethlisberger and Cameron Heyward, spoke to media Monday to clear the air:
"We had a team meeting this morning already," Roethlisberger said. "We discussed the game and what we want to do. Moving forward, we will be on the field. What we do when we're out there has yet to be determined.
"Luckily, it's not the night before the game at 10:30 at night and we have to make a decision. I know I want to be on the field, Cam [Heyward] wants to be on the field and the guys in that locker room want to be on the field. We will plan to be on the field this week in Baltimore."
"On that field, when we're together, we pay tribute to where we come from, our military," Heyward said. "Even though we didn't want to boycott, we wanted to stay out of the politics, we still pay tribute to our great country. That's the decision we made."
As stated, the team will be on the field, but whether they stand arms linked, as many other teams did in Week 3, or if they take a knee or sit, has yet to be determined. One thing is certain, they won’t be in the tunnel prior to the game.
Ben Roethlisberger felt obliged enough to release his own statement via his website, 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.
These statements certainly are the team’s methods to try and move on from their actions in Week 3, and although this is Step No. 1, it is far from being something which will wash away quickly with the global Steelers’ fan base.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest surrounding the black and gold as they head into Ravens Week.