PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Steelers have come under fire after most of the team skipped the national anthem on Sunday.
Most of the team stood in the tunnel during the national anthem. However, lineman Alejandro Villanueva stood outside the tunnel with his hand over his heart and sang along.
Steelers fans have been divided in their reactions to what happened.
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Now, Steelers President Art Rooney II has issued a statement to clarify the team’s intentions:
“I want to reach out to you, the members of Steelers Nation, based on what I believe is a misperception about our players’ intentions in not taking the field for the National Anthem in Chicago. The intentions of Steelers players were to stay out of the business of making political statements by not taking the field. Unfortunately, that was interpreted as a boycott of the anthem – which was never our players’ intention.
Our players come from many different backgrounds and are united by what it means to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are active in their communities and participate regularly in events designed to give back to those communities. And they appreciate the support they get from Steelers fans around the country and here at home.
I also know that our players have tremendous respect for the members of our military services, including their teammate Alejandro Villanueva. There was never any desire on the part of our players to show disrespect for our service members.
Yesterday, I received an email from a Steelers fan who said tell the players to just play football. That is exactly what they wanted to do. They wanted their sole focus to be on playing the game, while also coming together as a unified team.
The main thing we can do is learn from this and strive to come together remaining unified as a football team. I believe we are capable of accomplishing this with the support of our fans.
Steelers Nation is made up of the best fans in the National Football League. We appreciate your continued support of our players, coaches and staff.
Art Rooney, II”
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