The Pittsburgh Steelers chose not to enter the field during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday, eliciting boos from the crowd at Chicago’s Soldier Field football stadium. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced ahead of the game with the Chicago Bears that the team would not appear on field. Tomlin made clear that the gesture would not be to protest a particular political cause, but to “remove ourselves from this circumstance,” in light of President Donald Trump’s crusade against players who choose to kneel during the anthem to protest racism.
Bruce Maxwell, catcher for the Oakland Athletics, just became the first major league baseball player to take a knee during the national anthem in Saturday’s game against the Texas Rangers. The political statement came a day after the president criticized athletes who protest during sporting events. Last year, then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was booed for taking a knee during the national anthem while his team played the San Diego Chargers.
The President possibly has accomplished the unthinkable: Getting the NFL’s players to align behind their Commissioner. On Saturday evening, President Trump issued another message on Twitter regarding the anthem issue, taking aim at the statement issued by Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday morning. “Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country,” Trump said. “Tell them to stand!” Said Goodell on Saturday, in response to the urging of President Trump to remove from the field “that son of a bitch” who kneels or sits for the anthem: “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country