The Butchery Of Good Intentions: Providing Clarity On Sunday’s Pre-Game Debacle And Its Aftermath

There were a lot of things that were lacking for the Pittsburgh Steelers on the field on Sunday, but the biggest thing that they lacked off of it was clarity. While they spent much of yesterday attempting to provide clarity, the problem is that the message has continued to get muddled, so I want to try to provide context to what has been said and conveyed over the past few days, a chronology and accounting of events, if you will.

The process began when players on the team began discussing the comments that the president made regarding NFL players who participated in protests. Head Coach Mike Tomlin was made aware that some players may have wanted to participate on Sunday in response.

The head coach, however, was more concerned with how that might create division in the locker room, or at least project an image of division, which could become a distraction, so he instructed the team to come to a consensus on what to do.

The roster held a players-only meeting on Saturday that lasted over an hour, during which a number of players, including Alejandro Villanueva, addressed the group before players voted on what course of action to take.

The idea of presenting a divided front, with some players standing, others kneeling, was shot down quickly, but the options of locking arms or simply not participating in the event at all drew a small margin. The latter was ultimately adopted.

One of the contentious issues among fans has been whether or not the non-participation amounted to an act of protest on the Steelers’ part, but that is something that has been rejected on multiple fronts. In his post-game press conference, Tomlin said, regarding “pressure” to adopt a political stance, “we chose not to play ball today in that regard”.

Villanueva, addressing reporters yesterday, also denied that it was a protest. He said that his teammates’ “first course of action was to go out there and stand up, but in order to remove any doubt of last second [change of heart], we decided to stay away from the situation. Not protest it, but stay away from the situation”.

While it was reported that the Steelers would remain in the locker room, they were in fact just inside the tunnel leading out to the field. They were not ‘hiding’ in the tunnel, as some suggested, but rather were there to be in view of the opening.

The night before the game, Villanueva told reporters, he contacted the leadership to ask them if he could be stationed at a position that was within view of the flag, and he was told that he could. This is where problems began to arise.

Consider the fact that this occurred in Soldier Field, not Heinz Field, so the team was not really familiar with the layout. Villanueva did not realize how far out of the tunnel he would have to be in order to be in view of the flag, and how are that would separate him from his teammates.

Thought I don’t understand the context or why it is, he also said his teammates were “essentially unable to exit” the locker room, explaining why when he signaled for the rest of the players to move forward, they could not physically join him, and forced him to make the decision to step out on his own. Villanueva said that they had “butchered” their plan.

While he acknowledged to reporters that the vast majority of the team was not aware that he was going to be stepping out the way he did, a number of players have already previously said that he would be regarded as an exception anyway. The likely truth of the matter is that he did not need to ask any sort of permission, but that’s just the kind of person he is.

And he is the kind of person who is going to take blame that he feels that he owns, regardless of how many people want to exalt him for whatever reason they might have. Some think that he ‘defied’ the team. Others think that the team ‘threw him under the bus’. Still more are now convinced that Tomlin and the team forced him, or at least pressured him, to apologize.

I think such a suggestion is doing a disservice to the type of man that he has shown himself to be. He is exactly the type of person who would of his own volition do exactly what he did on Sunday, to explain what happened and why and how he happened and to take ownership of what he viewed as his role in how things developed.

The Steelers’ intention on Sunday was to depoliticize themselves, at least for that week, working on such short notice, to take themselves out of the spotlight and project an image of unity. That has completely and utterly backfired, and now even the aftermath is viewed as nothing but coerced damage control for many. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, after all. Is it getting warmer?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • The people who have their “false” narrative don’t care about the real story.

    I caught a ton of crap from family and coworkers/management yesterday just for being a Steelers fan. I didn’t even have to voice my opinion (outside of this site) to get dragged through the bull s*** ! I don’t talk politics at work for this reason.

    No body who gave me a hard time will care to find the truth of the matter…

    Sad reality…

  • Doug McFee

    10 year Army veteran here. I’m sick of the landscape that has become the NFL. We have our national traditions and they should be respected. Kneeling for our national anthem is a cheap way of expressing dissent. No wonder ratings are way down. And to top it all off, the STEELERS were a horror show on Sunday.

  • Steelerfan56

    Well Haley and Butler most have lost their playbooks in all the “chaos.”

  • Dorian James

    Yes it is. I learned the lesson of not talking politics at the workplace the hard way. Truth is there are people out there who become violent or belligerent when they hear opinions that differ from theirs.
    You said it best, sad reality.

    And this will definitely be the last time I comment on any non sports-related issues on this website

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Thank You for your service!!!

  • DangZone

    People have been sharing the divisive articles showing the team in a negative light all over my FB page. Instead of trying to educate them I just block them now.

  • Sherm

    The fact is they are paid to perform. You are allowed to believe in anything idea you want, be it religion, politics, etc. Just don’t bring it to work! I don’t tune in to find out what Antonio Brown thinks of the North Korea situation.

  • Terrible Towlie

    and i dont go to a game to hear the national anthem….keep government out of sports

  • Steeler Nation!

    That’s fine. Take it out of the games. Including the Super Bowl. I don’t have a problem with it. It’ll eliminate a “platform” for protest. And it’ll piss off some people. But take it away and maybe we can keep politics out of sports. Get rid of the SB halftime shows while we’re at it. Football fans don’t want to watch political BUSH in sporting events.

  • pittfan

    Good job Matthew in putting everything in context. Let’s hope this week things calm down. Frankly, I think it’s time the NFL show leadership. I recall when DWill was fined for wearing something purple, showing support for breast cancer. In the wake of 5 police officers, Dallas Cowboy players wanted to wear helmet stickers showing support for law enforcement, that request was declined by the NFL. I understand players concerns about situations they want attention drawn to but a line has to be drawn and I’m for not allowing the politicization and divisive messages during what is supposed to be a moment of national unity.
    Bring on the Ravens!!

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Yeah, you have to keep sex, religion, and politics out of the workplace. It’s just not professional regardless of where you stand. I’ve had similar situations occur in my workplace as well.

  • Jack Snapper

    The only professional football team I have ever identified with or enjoyed watching for my 49 years are the Steelers. I have followed this site and read news/comments for several years and have enjoyed it greatly. This is my first post ever and I wish it could be more positive. Simply put, when any player puts on a professional uniform they represent the uniform and their employer. The right to express any protest or anything contrary to the rules of their employment are prohibited. Regardless of their, your or my personal beliefs, no player has the right to protest or project any personal belief while wearing the team uniform. If a UPS or Fedex employee projected a personal belief or protest while wearing the UPS/Fedx uniform they would be subject to termination. I disagree with Matthew, no NFL player has the right to protest anything while wearing that uniform whether it’s an opinion about police, Trump or the plight of baby turtles worldwide. If they want to protest, do it at their own personal space and time. The NFL execs are to blame in my opinion for not shutting that cry baby down in San Fran when this first started.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    After reading every word from AV, I’m going to give the Steelers the benefit of the doubt. Like Matthew, I’m still a bit confused on why they were unable to join him. I remember hearing something about they didn’t want to move once the anthem started playing. Idk, something doesn’t quite add up. But regardless, I’ll be watching the Steelers this week and hopefully they’ll get it right this time. If disrespect for the flag discontinues, then I’m out for the long hall.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    This is exactly right. I don’t understand why people keep defending these clowns by saying, well, it’s their right. Well, technically sure, you won’t go to prison if that’s what you mean by “right.” But suggesting that they are exempt from consequences is preposterous. The NFL would be well within their “rights” to remove these individuals from the league. The fact that they aren’t even condemning it and are in essence encouraging it is sickening.

  • Russell Stauver

    Day two. Still disgusted. Perhaps, if the team was 100% focused on the game instead of the self-imposed distraction of protesting against our country, maybe we’d be 3-0. This was Tomlin’s job to motivate and focus the players and he failed miserably. Steeler football is my diversion away from the trouble of the world. I object to the infusion of politics into the game and will be seeking out other diversions. God bless America.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I really think this whole debacle was just a case of the best of intentions, under unusual/difficult circumstances, with a muddled execution. It seems clear to me that every view and individual in the locker room is respected, and that the team was most concerned with team unity.

    That AV appears (in press photo) to be breaking rank with the team is rather unfortunate blowback, as is the interpretation that the Steelers were demonstrating in any way.

    I’m also a little bit unnerved by football fans who seem to suggest there is a way people “should” and “shouldn’t” use their Constitutional rights as Americans. That line of thinking entirely defeats the purpose of having these freedoms to begin with.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    The distraction and the degree to which it played a role in the loss is unfortunate. But if you believe that any of what the Steelers did was motivated by protest against the country or meant as a political statement, then you haven’t heard or read what the staff and players have said entirely to the contrary. Like you, the Steelers didn’t want to mix politics and football. That was the point.

  • pittfan

    +1. The NFL has succumbed to the hecklers veto where the loudest voice in the room controls the conversation.

  • Sammacdon

    But are people really talking about Constitutional rights and how they should be exercised? Dropping F-Bombs is my constitutional right. But if I work at Disney and wear a Mickey Mouse costume around, my employer will NOT allow me to drop f-bombs while working. That’s not infringing on my constitutional right, it’s a contractual agreement between me and my employer. The NFL actually has rules regarding how players should conduct themselves during the anthem. These actions run counter to those rules. The NFL can refuse to enforce those rules, but people who suggest that they DO enforce them aren’t arguing against the constitution. Similarly, if I took my kids to Disney and Disney allowed Mickey to swear at my kids, that’s fine. It’s not against the law. I just won’t go back. For better or worse the NFL has ALWAYS been strict about rules. No purple shows for William Gay. Nope. We have rules and we enforce them. Well, in this case Goodell will not enforce. So people can choose to keep watching or not. But the constitution has nothing to do with it.

  • pittfan

    Sorry that happened to you. I’ve had similar situations but even worse where I’ve had poles swung at me and all sorts of nasty comments yelled by people who don’t even know me. False narratives and out of control emotions seem to be the order of the day. Glad we at SD can refrain from all that and focus on football.

  • Michael Conrad

    They could still kneel before the kickoff taking it out will not solve the problem

  • StrengthOfVictory

    In this context—when it comes to a silent, non-violent, non-vulgar act of potential protest or personal statement (in this case, taking a knee during the anthem)—yes, it is. Of course the NFL has its own rights, but my focus is third parties in this case, as I stated. People who go so far as to say such players are un-American or a disgrace to our country go too far.

    While we as citizens owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve and have served, the United States is more than just its military. And because this now involves a national conversation in an uncertain social climate, this is bigger than football—whether you or I, the president, or the NFL likes it or not.

  • John Noh

    You might have a smidgen of a point had it not been for the fact that the Steelers are five and 13 against teams who finished under .500 in the Tomlin era. This was not the fault of a distracted team. This was something far more disturbing – it seems to be modus operandi for this squad. Far cry from the Chuck Noll days when the Steelers were 50 and 1 against sub .500 teams at one point.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Who cares if they kneel before the kickoff? In what way is that making a statement?

  • StrengthOfVictory

    The NFL cares first and foremost about money. Not patriotism, much as you might wish they did. Every way in which the league conducts itself proves this. How do you make money? By putting the best football players in the world in the game for entertainment. Like it or not, the best football players in the world are not always going to have the same views or opinions. Your suggestion of the league taking a hard-line stance that simply cuts, suspends, or fires anyone who doesn’t “toe the line” will only ostracize the very talent they’re hoping to retain for the sake of their product.

    The reason players get away with what they do (within reason) is to keep the money-making parts of their product active and churning out more green.

    UPS has only to hire someone else who can drive a truck and read pieces of mail to keep their business going. The NFL has to retain some of the most talented athletes in the world. And those are NOT so easily replaced once they’re cut loose.

  • Chiricano

    I have a lot of sympathy for everyone involved in this issue. Coach T, the team, the Rooneys, and Villanueva. They took crap which they didn’t deserve, and Steeler Nation can be very quick to jump the gun on things, very protective of that Steeler name. Villanueva is in a unique position being the only decorated combat vet in the NFL, not really a set pattern for him to follow. I understand he had other combat vets asking him to stand for the flag, some of them without legs to stand themselves. He tried to do the best for both the fellow Vets and for his team in what was a middle of the road solution. I have been there myself, what happens is you get hit by a big truck and everyone around you catches some of the mess. He stood up like a man yesterday, took responsibility and deflected credit for anything which is what I would expect from an Army Officer, and took the blame on himself. Not sure what management is going to do here, there is no denying the 100% participation outlined by Coach T was not adhered to, unsure if that would have changed the wrongful perception people took from what the team was trying to do by staying out of the lime light when the anthem was being played. I hope Coach T and the management can forgive this situation and continue to develop Villanueva; I believe he is a good honorable man and may be worth a 2nd chance.

  • RevDrEBuzz

    “Thought I don’t understand the context or why it is, he also said his teammates were “essentially unable to exit” the locker room, explaining why when he signaled for the rest of the players to move forward, they could not physically join him, and forced him to make the decision to step out on his own. Villanueva said that they had “butchered” their plan.”

    Hmm, this is not accurate. They were visible behind him, not obstructed by some hot dog cart of beer vendor or massive concrete structure…

    Weird.

  • RevDrEBuzz

    They could call it the Football League and remove the whole National thing from it. It almost seems like it’s not attached to the USA any longer, especially with this latest stunt. The players did stand for God Save the Queen after all.

    And remove the red, white and blue from the logo…turn the whole thing into Rollerball and be done with it.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Just remember what that seer of seers, James Franco said: “The hate us cuz they ain’t us…”

    I wear my colors with nothing but pride.

    Are we perfect? No. But we ARE Steelers Nation. And that’s close enough.

  • RMSteeler

    The media drove the false narrative. Still said this morning that Al defied the team. I never considered the teams that chose their teams to stay in to be a form of protest. Rather, knowing that players would be forced to self identify with the other option that was considered, chose the one that wouldn’t give the fans or media the optics of who was right or wrong, depending on your point of view. If that would have happened, there would have bonfires of certain jerseys, and calls for so-and-so to be let go or traded. That would have been more divisive as a team and fan base imo.

  • RMSteeler

    They were given the script for Dazed and Confused by mistake?

  • gentry_gee

    It is part of your culture and heritage as an American you frickin’ idiot.

  • Completely agree.

  • Actually there are no rules on how they should conduct themselves on the sideline durning the anthem. That is why actions have been taken against playeyers that kneel, or raise a fist. It is also why the Commich, the owners, and the NFLPA all backed that players against Trumps words.

  • francesco

    Art Rooney has to put his foot down down and say that as much as he respects everyone’s position/opinions and free speech on this matter that from this moment forward all Steeler players are to stand for the national anthem.

  • LOL

    Don’t hold your breath on that one.

    Here is his statement.

    “I believe the commissioner made an appropriate statement and I have nothing to add at this time,” Rooney stated on Saturday night.

    His follow-up statement provided more insight:

    “Our players have stayed unified and have respected the fact that, like our country, there are diverse opinions in our locker room. It is a difficult time in our country. I hope that eventually we will come together as a nation to respect the diverse opinions that exist and work together to make our communities better for all our citizens.”

  • NCSteel

    What happens when you let the players think for themselves Coach.
    Reminder, the players, with only a few exceptions have not, are not and never will be confused with actual intellectuals.
    As for you coach, you could have left off the “in that regard” part of your statement and just stopped at “we chose not to play ball today” cause you couldn’t have coached a worse game and your players couldn’t have played a worse game.
    This is time to turn the ship around week Coach. It’s a little early in the season but you cohld smell it comin’ in Cleveland,
    this season would require an early wake up call and the alarm ‘s going off coach.

  • greeny

    Football is entertainment. Protests during the national anthem aren’t new. Kareem Abdul Jabaar. Been going on for ever. What is new is an unprofessional and horrible leader leading this country. If players kneeled to protest Hillary Clinton I am sure this would not get the attention that it’s getting.
    When the ratings tank Trump will say I told you so just like how there are good white supremacists.

  • Sammacdon

    NFL Game Manual:

    “‘The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

    ‘During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.’”

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I think the problem here is that it is hard to punish a player for not standing for the national anthem in a collective bargaining situation since it isn’t part of the job description. The company’s rights to project its beliefs on you have some limits, too. A company that may start the day with a prayer doesn’t have the power to make its employees recite a prayer that is against a personal beliefs.

    You might be right that they could try to enforce it as a requirement, but I’d put their chances at something less than 50% for being able to litigate it successfully.

  • Sammacdon

    Well you said you had concerns about people saying how others should or should not use their constitutional rights. That has nothing to do with it. And it has nothing to do with whether the speech involved is non-violent or non-vulgar. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that if the manager of my local bank went to a Rotary meeting and refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance, he’s get canned. That’s between him and the bank. From the bank’s point of view, I can see why they might not want their point person in the community disrespecting the flag, and why they might worry it could cost them business. As for whether or not people should weigh in on what people should do… people do it all the time. Miley Cyrus shouldn’t wear that thing on MTV. Those alt-right people shouldn’t wear those swastikas. If Colin Kapernick has a right to say what he thinks about America, why shouldn’t people feel free to say what they want about him? Or is he the only one with free speech rights? Me? I don’t care what he thinks. Or what the average football fan thinks about him.

  • Steeler Nation!

    I’m as red blooded American as they get. But I don’t understand why we have to have the national anthem played before every football game-high school, college, and pro-that’s ever played. I also get that playing sports in our country is a luxury that we have that some do not. Still, it is America, and we are not going to beat or imprison those who exercise their free will to not participate. Remember the famous quote, “I do not agree with a single thing you say. But I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”
    I don’t think many people realize how GOOD we have it here. Only point out the bad. And act as if the American way is the worst in the world. It’s still the best. I’ve never known a black person to be arrested harassed or beaten for doing nothing wrong either. Where I am from, we work and go home. And know where our children are. And mostly don’t buy into everything being about race. Thank God.

  • NinjaMountie

    So Trump is responsible for a protest that was going on before he was in office? Got it!
    I don’t particularly like Trump as a person, but the unfair amount of blame he gets is beyond hilarious. I’m certain that that the hurricanes are his fault, too. smh

  • pittfan

    +1

  • Dan

    Agree. I suggested a team policy to require respect but not participation for all civil and religious traditions while at the stadiums. You don’t have to sing, you don’t have to put your hand over your heart, you don’t have to even look at the flag, but you do have to stand in silence with your hat/helmut off. To protest police policies or other inequities during the national anthem is severely misguided. But I must admit it is bringing much more attention to the issue than had they protested outside of police stations, gov offices or someplace actually related to what their supposedly protesting (although let’s be real, 99% of them are really protesting against the individual in the Oval Office.)

  • greeny

    Stop it. Tweeting isn’t leadership.

  • greeny

    Don’t you think trump should be more concerned about other issues than Jemele Hill or kneeling. Where were all of you when Kareem never stoop for the anthem. Reagan never publically stated how disgusting it was. I applaud our team and Kapernick and all others for this peaceful protest. Remember Kapernick can’t get a job but Joe Mixon is employed. Who is worse

  • NinjaMountie

    I didn’t say he was displaying leadership. I said the he gets an unfair amount of blame.

  • PleasefireGoodell

    The root of the protests is untrue. Listen to Dr Ben Carson on Utube speaking with Obama present. He took lots of criticism after for clearly explaining everyone is responsible for their own life. He became a doctor because he choose too. He studied he worked and no white people hindered him. Obama wasn’t happy with the speech. It could possibly mess up his agenda.

    Unfortunately much of the high up leadership for the Steelers leans left. Tomlin has a cross hanging around his neck and gave money to the pro abortionist Clinton. I guess if you think white people are the problem you will be willing to kill babies to put Clinton in office.

    I could go on… Matt stay with writing about football.

    I hope that a boycott happens and the NFL is brought to its knees financially.

  • Milton Farfara

    First off let me state that I’m a Canadian Steelers fan so my level of passion may not be as high as some of my American brethren in Steelers Nation. That said I have a couple of could’ve scenarios to throw out. Imagine first off if Trump wasn’t president but had been successful in his attempt to purchase the Bills when they were for sale. Second scenario he owns the Bills, and wins the election like he did. What then? Would he fire the team and default games until able to field a team with remaining cap space? Assuming he really is as shrewd a businessman he claims to be I highly doubt he bites his nose to spite his face. Finally, I remember a time when anthem wasn’t shown on tv and players didn’t come out of locker room until after the anthem ( pre 2009 I think ). So maybe the best way to keep this part of the issue spinning out of control and taking away from the main point of watching football ( escape from real life for awhile cheer your team ) the NFL goes back to coming out onto field after anthem-as before? Just some ideas from a Canadian fan.

  • Matthew Marczi

    As you can see in the very thing that you quoted, the only act that could result in a disciplinary retaliation is not being on the field. It doesn’t say anything about discipline for kneeling.

  • greeny

    And so when we are in a nuclear war based off his tweets hopefully you’ll see the blame is 100% justified. Remember the right side hadn’t won the popular vote since 1988. Long time ago. No more please.
    Hopefully this idiot will stop tweeting so we all can go back to watching sports without politics

  • Matthew Marczi

    You don’t want to listen to a football player about politics, but you’ll listen to a neurosurgeon about socioracialeconomics? In neither case is the subject qualified to speak on the matter based on their field of expertise.

  • This is an excerpt from an article written yesterday by Pete Grathoff for the Kansas City Star. It took 5 minutes through a good search to find.

    It appears some fans are confusing the league rulebook for the NFL Game Operations Manual, which includes nearly 200 pages of procedures and policy for regular-season games. Among the arcane details: each team must provide 600 towels and 500 pounds of ice to the visiting team.

    In an email, Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president of communications, shared the portion of the manual that addresses the anthem, and that language is what has been shared on social media but mistakenly attributed to the rulebook.

    McCarthy stressed that passage about the national anthem is a guideline and not a requirement. The key words in the operations manual are “should” and “may” and not “must.” No player is required to stand at attention.

    That’s why the league has never issued a punishment for a player who didn’t follow the recommendation.

    “There is no discipline being considered for any action yesterday,” McCarthy said Monday.

    Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, told The Sporting News in March that “the league didn’t discuss setting a standard protocol for all players during the pregame playing of the anthem.”

    So you are confusing the NFL Rulebook and Game Manuals.

  • NinjaMountie

    Ahh, now you’re blaming him for a nuclear war that hasn’t happened yet! Hyperbole much?
    As far as the popular vote, Gee, I thought Bush won the popular vote in 2004. Huh, I wonder how that happened.
    Trump didn’t interject politics into sports. As you stated in your original post, it has been going on for a while. He also didn’t start this as it, AGAIN, has been going on since last year. You know, before he was in office.
    I don’t care if you don’t like Trump. Shoot, I don’t as a person. Please, PLEASE, start getting your facts straight and stop with irrational claims.

  • NinjaMountie

    Also, our team wasn’t protesting anything. If you had read the many, many interviews of the players on the subject you would know this. Facts are your friend….use some.

  • I think he said what he said on Friday knowing it would dominate headlines to distract people from other things that happened this weekend, like his health care bill failing to make it through congress for the 7th (?) time. Or that he banned travel to a few new destinations. Absolutely no body is talking about that stuff…

  • NinjaMountie

    The problem is that too many people rely on others to inform them. There seems to be too many that limit their input to people who they already know will say what they want to hear. This is happening on both sides.
    There is very little independent research done before forming opinions anymore. Donald Trump said it so it must be true! Hillary Clinton said it so it must be true! This is the problem.

  • NinjaMountie

    I agree. I pointed that out to Sdran on Sunday. I hadn’t thought of the Health Care bill at that time. My opinion was specifically based on the travel ban that was released later that evening.
    You may not like him, and I don’t a lot, but sometimes I think he’s sneaky brilliant in a Machiavellian way.

  • My though was, why say this now all of a sudden, why not before week 1 or during the preseason. Why wait until now?

  • NinjaMountie

    Especially considering it was dying off.
    He’s loud, pompous, and crass at times. I don’t think he’s nearly as stupid as many want to portray him though.

  • Agreed. He’s also full of himself and like to hear his own voice. The laughter after his statement made reminded me of a maniacal cartoon villain.

  • NinjaMountie

    HAHA! He was just missing a mustache to twist!!!

  • Totally!

  • pittfan

    Ben Carson, a black American, was talking about his experience growing up black and becoming successful in America. Do you think his being a neurosurgeon disqualifies him from opining on the subject?

  • Jimbo

    Being a life long Steelers Fan and faithful daily reads about the team all year long. For the first time , I am not as enthused about this team , nor the head coach, who has obviously , no leadership abilities.
    Its not because Ben is unmotivated and the team is on yet another loss to a sub 500 team and was predicted on here by some. because we all have watched the tape on tomlins losing trends. Tomlin is not the guy. Unless he has a roster of Troy’s.
    But even that isnt my issue. I felt disgusted and betrayed by every team member who lives under the Shield of the USA. Except for one guy AV. I’m an american and will stand for the national anthem with pride. That is not about football. They want to make it political and take the loss of revenue. I have to support my country. no more merchandise or paying to watch or attend a game will happen in my household,
    I care too much about the real heros who gave their lives for me to enjoy sitting here right now, expressing my personal views and beliefs.

  • Sammacdon

    I can’t see that. It says “for violations of the above,” which I would think would include items listed in the exact paragraph.

  • Sammacdon

    I am not confusing anything. The NFL promulgates rules in various books and manuals. And recommendation seems like a strange way to put it. They can take draft choices away from you for just failing to meet their recommendations? I don’t care where it’s listed or what they call it. If they say “do X, and if you don’t we can take away draft choices from you,” that kinda sorta sounds like a rule. Nice draft choice, shame if anything happened to it.

  • Peter Griffin

    HEAR HEAR!!! two Cheers for Jimbo — Life-ling fan here too, totally agree. it was a stupid selfish move and it’s becoming disgusting. football has deteriorated since the fist second Godhell took office and it continues to plummet. of my fellow 7 Steeler fans and probably 2 dozen other friends and acquaintances it’s 100% consensus that football has turned to crap.. league management, players, player agreements preventing practicing, Godhell’s lying and supporting cheating and spousal abuse, Patriots get out of jail free, allowing politics to enter for years now, taking away celebration, bad officiating, horrible rules, zero technology (can’t stream live games even if you throw money at them, Changing the core game rules like field position and extra point so the game is literally nothing like it was.

    This was a tipping point for me as a fan of Steelers, I’m no longer die-hard, I’m a meh fan. Tomlin just fell 7 notches for me on coach rankings. and Football in general, I am starting to care less about it and am approaching the point where I just may give up on it.

    Baseball and Hockey both did this to me by their strikes – I never watch a game since… I’m getting there with football

    BTW – not a political comment, but I need to use the naughty word of Trump. General consensus was Kappernicky was a looser for what he did and people praised Jerry Jones saying that wouldn’t happen on his team. most people agreed bringing politics and disrespect into the game was not cool… the minute Trump says it… now we should support disrespect and allow politics in the game. people are literally switching their opinions based on who says what.. not what they actually said.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Read the entire last sentence.

  • I think your reading comprehension needs some work…

  • Matthew Marczi

    Again, no, they can’t take a draft pick for a player kneeling. The violations are ONLY for not being on the field. Violations of “the above” is not being on the field.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think he has no qualifications to make generalizations by extrapolating from anecdotes of his own life. People who are actually experts on things have the self-awareness to realize that.

  • Jack Snapper

    And while “on the field” as required, it states specifically that players “stand”. The NFL execs are choosing not to punish players for kneeling. Players must be on the field and while on the field guidelines for behavior are detailed including to “stand”. Ultimately my opinion doesn’t matter because I’m only one fan. If the powers that be really wanted to shut this down they could

  • Matthew Marczi

    You just missed the entire point. The part about “should stand” is not a rule, it’s a guideline. Players should stand, but they will not face consequences for failing to do so. Read the last part carefully. “Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline”. It does not say failure to stand may result in discipline; ONLY not being on the field. See the excerpt that HardPunkKore shared that cites a league source verifying this very thing:

    “McCarthy stressed that passage about the national anthem is a guideline and not a requirement. The key words in the operations manual are “should” and “may” and not “must.” No player is required to stand at attention.”

  • pittfan

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth so maybe you can clarify for me. Doctor Carson is widely considered an expert in his field and I think we agree he is an expert at his own life experiences. Why is he not “qualified” to draw more general conclusions from that? You may not considered his conclusions valid but even then, what makes YOU qualified to draw those conclusions? EOM.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The 2017 NFL Rule Book literally does not even contain the word “anthem” in it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He is an expert in neurology, not in socioeconomics or race relations or anything related. The only qualifications that he had in crediting his comments was simply his life experience, in which case everybody is equally qualified to comment, because we all are experts in our own life experiences. Thus all of our own life experiences are equally credible for extrapolation, so if they contradict Carson’s, then they are on even ground and equally irrelevant.

  • pittfan

    That’s fair enough. I would though give greater deference to experts in hard sciences as opposed to matters of socioeconomics and race relations. Those matters can be skewed heavily by narrow life experiences much more than if 1+1=2.

  • Matthew Marczi

    If what you mean to say is that you would sooner listen to a scientist about science than a sociologist about sociology, then I agree with you.

  • pittfan

    +1. Bingo!!

  • Jaybird

    You have the Balls to ask Matt to stick to football, yet you bring up abortion on the Depot? Why don’t you take your own advice and stick to football bro.

  • Jaybird

    Damn Matt! How’d you get so smart? Must be that NJ education system😉. Lol

  • Jaybird

    I thought the same thing- if Trump wasn’t shot down for his attempt to own the Bills- he’d never be trashing the NFL if he was their owner. He’d never risk hurting his wallet.

  • PleasefireGoodell

    So, if you listened to Dr Carson’s comments you heard he came out of a ghetto situation with no father and became a celebrated neurosurgeon.

    He did it by study and hard work, not by free handouts. He made a powerful statement and said “if you educate a man it frees a man”.

    I think what the left wants is to keep education from the people so they can manipulate and control them and most importantly get their votes to stay in power while all along not helping the ones they manipulated to vote for them.

    Dr Carson is hated by Maxine Watters a fellow African American, probably because he wants to educate the inner city people and free them. Maxine will no longer be able to promise them free handouts because they won’t need them. Oh, and they won’t keep her in office either.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Looks like you’ve got it all figured out. Only a matter of time before everything in this country is wonderful for everybody. Another few months, maybe?

  • eric smith

    Thank you for the clarification. In the wake of all that went on last Sunday, and given the terrible optics involved in not showing up for the Nat’l Anthem, it was easy for many (myself included) to jump to the wrong conclusion regarding the Steelers’ actions. Tomlin clarified today as his presser, and did a good job of doing so. Unfortunately, the above mentioned optics have done their damage. Personally, I hope that Goodell will consider what the Steelers did, and mandate that all teams not take the field until the conclusion of the Anthem, thereby removing the unwanted element of protest from the game.

  • PleasefireGoodell

    Matt, it amazes me that you would disagree with hard work and study as a cure for most of the problems we face. It has to come from an expert? You have worked hard on your craft…hey? You study the Steelers diligently…hey?

    It seems like you are rejecting simple proven virtues that have brought success to millions, because they don’t fit a left agenda.

    Oh, the left wants to penalize the successful and distribute their money to lazy couch dwellers.

    The Bible actually distinguishes between the poor and the lazy. It says help the poor (they are ones that can’t help theirselves) and shun the lazy (they can help theirselves but want free handouts). A % of millennials tend to be in the lazy category.

    The left goes after that lazy group with promises they can’t keep, just to secure votes.

    The original democratic party were the ones trying to hold on to slavery, now they do it by making themselves lazy people’s source. You need us to get your handouts, so vote for us.

    I don’t need the government, I went out and worked for what I have.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You should take a closer look at that Snopes link. I think calling it a mixture is not accurate. Here is what they say in the “what’s false” section: “The NFL’s game operations manual may contain a policy stating that players must be present on the sidelines during the national anthem, but not that they must stand.”

    So, again, Snopes says there is no policy (and a policy is not even the same thing as a rule) saying that players must stand for the anthem.

    The rule book actually does not even mention the anthem at all, or anything about pre-game anything, short of emergency weather conditions.

  • Matthew Marczi

    If you actually think that hard work and study can fix every problem for every person, then you live in a delusion. People who end up being successful appreciate the uncontrollable variables that landed in their favor that helped get them where they are, and the fact that for others, similar opportunities did not present themselves, regardless of their hard work and study.

  • PleasefireGoodell

    That is a fair point. So I’ll give you that one, but I will never change my stand toward the lazy. Cheers

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think it goes without saying that all things being equal, it’s always preferable to have a strong work ethic. Simple persistence will bring many people many things, though it’s not magic.

  • Steve Johnson

    Agreed. Protest? Yes, but peaceful protests. Using your job as a platform to do it? No. And for the record, I detest the words our Commander In Chief used, very unprofessional. I too will make it my business to no longer talk about or reply to Politics on this website.

  • This guy is F-ing bonkers…

  • Michael Mosgrove

    I’ll take your stuff if you don’t wa t it.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    New Jersey educates people?

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Even a mustache doesn’t want to be on trump.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Just because we couldn’t see it from the outside doesn’t mean the inside wasn’t congested.

  • pittfan

    Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II issued the following letter to Steelers fans on Tuesday.

    To Steelers Nation:

    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 statement 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 designated 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 for our players, coaches and staff.

    Sincerely,

    Art Rooney II..

  • Jaybird

    We’re street smart .

  • Doug McFee

    Tomlin should have just allowed the matter to take its course. If there were players who wanted to kneel, so be it. Instead, he’s brought unwanted attention upon himself and the team. Every team in the league had players kneel on Sunday. Tomlin made it political with his stupid team unity theme thinking the Steelers are/were above it all. It was dumb and it all blew up in his face and tarnished the Steelers brand. FOR WHAT? Message to Tomlin: Don’t worry about politics – get your team prepared to play the game your players are so highly paid to play. Obviously, Tomlin played politics and it blew up in his face and his team was not prepared to play the game they lost on Sunday. It was a pathetic showing on and off the field. I’m extremely disappointed and disgusted. Thank goodness for Hockey early next month.

  • Doug McFee

    Tomlin Tomlin Tomlin. You can thank the Steelers head coach for all the misguided attention all Steelers fans are getting. I’m not defending him or the Steelers when the barbs and spears are chucked my way. Tomlin made a dumb mistake. I don’t care why he did it. The rose colored glassed are off. The whole thing backfired on him and the team. Our Steelers looked the fool on Sunday and I don’t care what anyone here or there or anywhere has to say about it. On top of his moronic team unity play, the team, our Steelers, were not prepared to play the Bears. Frankly, I’m angry with Mike Tomlin as I write this. The man and his hubris have me highly agitated and questioning everything about him. I hate politics in sports and have totally given up on ESPN because of their stupidity. I will not ever watch another ESPN broadcast and for me personally, the NFL is losing its luster at a pace I never thought possible. I just may call in sick on Sunday. Hockey season starts first week in October. I for one will be watching!

  • greeny

    Thank you.

  • greeny

    OMG. .

  • greeny

    I thought you were smarter. They decided to hang in the tunnel because all 52 had to use the toilet.

  • NinjaMountie

    Greeny, my brother, if I couldn’t get basic facts straight, as you seem to have a problem doing, I’d never bring up intelligence in a statement. You have spouted more false information than I’ve seen in a long time. That’s really saying something for the internet. Congrats!
    Also, I would have thought that they were trying to backtrack if they hadn’t announced their intentions BEFORE it happened.
    Maybe you should take a break and go back and do some research. Again, facts are your friend….use some.