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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns is trashing the NFL’s new national anthem policy, calling it bullying.
“We are trying to stand for something, but you single us out in front of everybody? You talk about bullying, that’s bullying,” Burns said after voluntary team spring practices.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the new policy Wednesday.
The policy requires players and personnel to stand for the national anthem or face fines, though each team may develop its own work rules against those who do not comply with the policy.
“I feel like it’s another topic to get everybody against each other,” Burns said. “I hate that we have to go down this route, but it is what it is.”
The new policy does give players the option to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem.
“It makes you look bad,” he said. “The whole team is out there and you come jogging out, like, ‘Oh, he’s the guy that’s protesting’. Who wants to go through that? That’s humiliating to us as a person.”
Burns says he will abide by the new NFL policy even though he doesn’t like it.
“I’m going to be out there standing up,” he said. “That’s their issue, not my issue.”
Yesterday Steelers guard Ramon Foster said the players feel powerless against the new policy.
‘If the team says, ‘this is what we’re doing,’ and ownership (does too), you either deal with it or you’re probably going to get cut. You can fight the resistance on that one but, same as we can’t smoke marijuana because it’s illegal in certain states, it’s the same issue,” Foster said.
On Thursday President Trump praised the new national anthem policy.
“You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing if that’s what they’ve done,” Trump said. “You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem or you shouldn’t be playing. You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”