Roethlisberger says Steelers will be on sideline during national anthem Sunday in Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Monday that the Steelers will be on the sideline for the national anthem when they face the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday.

“We have had a team meeting this morning already and obviously discussed what we want to do. Moving forward we will be on the field. What we do when we are out there is yet to be determined,” Roethlisberger said during a news conference in Pittsburgh. “I know I want to be on the field. … The guys in that locker room want to be on the field.

“We will plan to be on the field this week in Baltimore.”

The Steelers were one of three NFL teams to remain in their locker rooms Sunday during the national anthem, along with the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks. One member of the Steelers, offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, stood just outside of the tunnel with his hand over his heart during the national anthem at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Roethlisberger said in a post on his website (http://bigben7.com/) Monday that he was troubled by the team’s decision not to be on the sideline for the national anthem:

“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.”

The Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars started the day of protest on Sunday with about a dozen players on each team kneeling and both teams interlocking their arms during the national anthem at London’s Wembley Stadium. It was the first NFL game after President Donald Trump profanely lambasted some players at a rally over the weekend and encouraged team owners to fire those who protest during the anthem.

Throughout the day hundreds of NFL players demonstrated in some form.

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