Monday's HOT MIC
Ben Roethlisberger seems to be having some regrets about the Steelers' anthem antics yesterday. This is from a statement on his personal site which was re-posted by NBC Sports:
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
It is difficult to imagine why Coach Mike Tomlin or the rest of the team really thought that Alejandro Villanueva would remain in the tunnel with them, so this show of solidarity seems to have been a gross miscalculation. The boos probably added to Big Ben's sleeplessness. Maybe more players will begin to realize that hot-button fringe social justice issues aren't playing well with regular NFL fans.