Pittsburgh Steelers Stay Off Field During Anthem, Crowd Boos Them When They Return

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.

Alejandro Villanueva, an offensive tackle for the Steelers and former Army Ranger, diverged from the team’s action, choosing instead to stand at the entrance of the tunnel with his helmet off during the anthem.

When the anthem ended and the rest of the team ran out on to the field, many in the Chicago crowd jeered them.

The Pittsburgh Steelers huddle up during warm-ups prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sept. 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Many Steelers fans registered their dissatisfaction with the team’s actions on social media. 

Others praised Villanueva for choosing to stand for the anthem.

Some observers complimented the entire team for its courage, however.

The Steelers’ choice to abstain from participating in the national anthem comes as a response to Trump’s escalating vendetta against players who have knelt during the anthem to protest racism. Trump reiterated his call on Sunday morning for fans…

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