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Monday, September 25, 2017

Ben Roethlisberger: Steelers should have been on field for anthem

Ben Roethlisberger said he isn't on board with the Pittsburgh Steelers' decision to remain in the tunnel for the national anthem before Sunday's 23-17 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears.


After Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he didn't want players to feel forced into taking a stance, the quarterback wrote Monday that he wishes "we approached it differently" and that he believes the playing of the song is not the right time for any protest.

"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," Roethlisberger wrote in a statement posted to his official website. "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.

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"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."

In a news conference with defensive end Cameron Heyward on Monday, Roethlisberger clarified that he wanted to be on the field.

"I just felt like I wish that we would have been on the field," Roethlisberger said. "That's just my personal feeling on it. I'm entitled to that opinion. That's what's great about this country and what the troops are for. I wish we could have stood out there. What was important was being united as well, and that's what we showed. We showed unity. Because that's what we need in this country right now. There's so much division. We need to stay together."


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