A Pittsburgh Steelers fan in Texas burned his team paraphernalia in protest over a decision by the team to stay in their locker room during the national anthem ahead of their game against the Chicago Bears on September 24.
In a YouTube video, Richard Williams, a master electrician from Frisco, Texas, is seen burning several items including a jacket, hats and sweaters.
“We stand for this country. We have morals in this country,” he says. “My great uncles bones are lying in the bottom of Pearl Harbour [sic] for this country, for the flag, for your freedom to play in the NFL and to say whatever you want to say. But you do not disrespect the flag and the county [sic] and the constitution and why we have our freedoms. So watch this stuff burn.”
The decision by Steelers players to remain off the field during the anthem was in response to growing protests over President Donald Trump’s call to fire players who refuse to stand for the anthem.
NFL players protested the president’s comments by sitting, kneeling, raising fists, or staying in locker rooms on Sunday, CBS reported.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the decision to remain off the field was not a political statement, but was meant to avoid putting players in a tough spot.
Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a US Army veteran, was the only player to appear on the field during the national anthem in Chicago.
The video was one of several posted to social media showing people burning NFL paraphernalia in protest over players not standing for the anthem. Credit: YouTube/Lynn and Robert Williams via Storyful