These are complex times in American history we are living in, and the 2020 year has been difficult for many. Whether it be the coronavirus pandemic which still keeps a grip on the world, or several protests over racial equality and justice.
This year has been one thing after the next, and with the NFL gearing up to start their regular season many fans are wondering if teams will kneel for the anthem, like the NBA and some Major League Baseball teams have done upon their return to the sport.
Seemingly going against the general consensus of professional athletes, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt spoke out about his view on anthem protests ... and how he won’t be participating.
This is what Tuitt said on social media this offseason:
I stand for the flag because I am a proud American. Like previously stated, this country has provided and rewarded my family in so many ways through our perseverance and hard work. I will continue to honor my… https://t.co/tSofslwOqJ— stephon tuitt (@DOCnation_7) July 30, 2020
On Wednesday Tuitt spoke with local reporters via Zoom call, and when asked about his stance on any type of protest, Tuitt didn’t back down from his previous comments. While he did say the Steelers have not addressed the issue, he did say he will be standing for the national anthem no matter what.
This per Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports:
Stephon Tuitt said Steelers haven't had any talks regarding how they will handle the national anthem issue. Tuitt has said he'll stand no matter what. Doesn't think it will be a decisive issue in the locker room. Heyward has said the Steelers will act as a team. #Steelers #dkps— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 19, 2020
As Lolley pointed out in the above tweet, in a previous interview Cam Heyward, the team’s defensive captain, said whatever the team does they will do as a team. Considering the diversity of every NFL organization it will be interesting to see what the team does, if they do indeed stick together in uniformity on the issues at hand.
Some applaud Tuitt for his response, while others feel he should be on the other side of the proverbial fence. Either way, Tuitt has drawn a line in the sand as it pertains to any type of anthem protest, and he doesn’t sound like he is willing to step over that line anytime soon.
From a football perspective, the Steelers have to be ecstatic to get Tuitt back in their lineup. Tuitt’s presence will cushion the blow of losing Javon Hargrave to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, and will bring a dominant force to balance out Heyward opposite him. With Tuitt and Heyward both healthy, you won’t find a better duo in the NFL.
For more information on the Steelers as they roll through training camp and prepare for the 2020 regular season, be sure to stay tuned right here to BTSC.