Roethlisberger, Steelers Fumble Through Aftermath Of Sunday Pre-Game Optics

The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves under siege today in the aftermath of both a tough loss on the field and a significant blow off of it in the form of public relations, and no doubt their efforts to repair the damage of the latter will be viewed by many as a misstep.

The team held a players-only meeting today that was said to have lasted over an hour, following which their two mainstay captains, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and defensive end Cameron Heyward, entered the conference room to speak to the media.

As has been the case with so much of what has happened over the course of the past couple of days, I do believe that what transpired today was initiated with good intentions, but I cannot say that those intentions matched the end result of their efforts.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin didn’t want to create division in the locker room or in the public eye by allowing players to choose to respond in whatever way they chose. Had he not stepped in, we probably would have seen some Steelers players kneeling or sitting during the anthem yesterday. That is just the facts.

Instead, he had his players attempt to reach a consensus response that would project and solidify a message of unit, but those optics failed when cameras captured war veteran and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva standing at the edge of the tunnel heading out to the field on his own.

The rest of the team—or at least much of the rest of the team—was stood back some 10 or more feet deeper in the tunnel, with the intention that they would be out of sight, but there are such things these days as cameras. The resulting optics of Villanueva standing away from his teammates has created arguably a greater backlash than had Tomlin never stepped in in the first place.

And the players’ comments today have not aided at all. Roethlisberger started out by breaking from the message of unity and stating his personal views that “the anthem is [never] the time to make any type of protest”, something that is obviously not a universally held view in the locker room.

He proceeded to intimate that Villanueva got “separated” from his teammates in that moment of “chaos”, as a small child wandering off from his parents in a crowd, calling it a “coincidence” that the lineman ended up away from his teammates.

Even if that were true, it will do little to salve the wound for those who were offended by the optics of the incident.

Tomlin’s intention, and the team’s, was to show unity with one another, but that doesn’t appear to have been the messaged that has been received by a significant portion of not just the fanbase, but the broader population exposed to the story.

In fairness to their efforts, they had a short turnaround between Sunday and the events that triggered the recent wave of ire, and so perhaps it is not a great surprise that there was much fumbling over how to handle it.

Roethlisberger said that the team will be out on the field for the remainder of the season, but it is yet to be determined what will happen while they are out there. They have a week to think about it. Let’s hope they at least manage to ‘project unity’ this time.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • RMSteeler

    Team leaders should have had a vote on whether they wanted Al to be exempt. Would anyone have dared to say no? Al doing what he did was not a protest. It was part of an oath he gave long before he became a pro player.

  • pittsburghjoe

    There is and will never be unity on this issue. The field is now nothing more than a tarnished political circus.

  • NCSteel

    Oh my gosh, I’m on pins and needles wondering what they’ll do next.
    These people are given mich to much attention for their policsl views.
    It’s like actors. I’ll worry about mine and my families response to social change. I WILL NOT BE SWAYED ONE WAY OR ANOTHER BY A FOOTBALL PLAYERS DECISION TO STAND/SIT/KNEEL/ HIDE OR BOUNCE AROUND ON THEIR HEAD DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.
    How about win a game you’re supposed to win ?

  • Paddy

    The flag & the national anthem have nothing to do with what these people perceive as something that has been done to them

  • John Noh

    Damn it, Ben! First rule of finding yourself in a hole, QUIT DIGGING!!!

  • pittsburghjoe

    It’s not about football anymore.

  • NCSteel

    I mean God Bless it already.
    How about losing sleep over stinking up Chicago allafternoon ?

  • LucasY59

    There were some coaches on the sideline as well, the camera didnt stay on there long so the only one I thought I could identify was Munchak, but there were 3 or 4 others with him

  • John Noh

    Did Ben say that Tyler (Matakevich) is the special teams captain? Did he break this news or did I miss something. I didn’t think the team had an ST captain this season.

  • SouthernSteel

    I love the Steelers!! Sometimes we have a crappy game, but still love them!! Never held any to a higher standard…. Just young men with lots of money…. I believe they will respond in a positive manner but yesterday was just a mess…. AV if wasn’t already in the doghouse with his play is definitely now with coaches and teammates… God bless America and the Steelers neither are perfect but I wouldnt live anywhere else or route for any other team… Except whoever is playing the pats n ratbirds..

  • SportsBall Is My Life

    THIS is super simple, when they play the anthem, do what Villanueva does.
    This is not complicated.

    Now if you wanna turn the anthem into a clownshow, be prepared for the bitter harvest that is sure to follow.

  • Bobby Lewis

    So it’s strictly perception that innocent black people have been victims of police brutality for decades? Or that the president condones these actions? OK.

  • JT

    I didn’t really care yesterday. In fact, I appreciated what Tomlin had to say after the game. But what a freaking disaster this has become. Someone wake me up when this is all over.

  • JT

    Ben’s first rule is you throw a 50 yard bomb to MB and pray he catches it.

  • LucasY59

    I saw that he was out there for the coin toss so it seems he is taking that role regardless of if he was named captain or not

  • The Chin

    Amen

  • SmellyHobo

    No one thought to ask the Bronze Star awarded Army Ranger what he wants to do?

  • Paddy

    Stats say otherwise friend, still the flag & the anthem have nothing to do with that. I get sick of minorities blaming their plight on police and white people’s privilege. I earned what I own.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Sooo…..what happened to this site staying away from politics? I thought these articles were 1 in a 1000. There have been at least 5 in the last 48 hours.

  • Paul Rainey

    Or they call pass interference.

  • Bobby Lewis

    Except they don’t. There are 100+ million more white people in this country than there are black people. When you adjust for population, black people are 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by the cops.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Things change when there is news. Do you honestly expect the site not to cover a special press conference from Ben Roethlisberger and Cameron Heyward? And, again, I was asked to write something. And, again, you can just not click on these articles. It’s in your control.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He was in the team meeting and he spoke in front of the team. He was entirely involved in everything.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I really don’t think the players and coaches have any negative feelings toward Villanueva whatsoever. Complete and total non-issue there.

  • Big White

    Marczi not happy with a patriot honoring country over a football game. Shocker.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The Steelers have a rotating special teams captain on a weekly basis this season, dictated by their performance from the previous week.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah I think most of the coaches were out there. Saxon, Haley, at least, from memory, and others.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Bingo. Somebody take the man’s shovel away.

  • What a sad display but not surprisement for the Tomlin coach

  • Matthew Marczi

    “I personally believe a long bomb is never the time to drop the football”.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Let’s not do this again, folks.

  • Big White

    America 246 Anthem Crashing NFL 3 1st Quarter 14:42 remaining. Anthem Crashers out of timeouts.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Let’s please not do this again, folks. I think everybody’s said their piece in one another or another over the past two days.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You’re right, there will never be unity. I think Tomlin erred in the first place in trying to force them into a consensus, but either way, it backfired.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Nobody protested, including Al. And I don’t think anybody has a problem with what he did.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    That’s fine. The fallout continues.

  • Matthew Marczi

    How in the hell did you get that from this article? I mean are you serious? This is just a stupid comment.

  • LucasY59

    but it should be…

  • Steel Your Face

    I wonder how many folks at home get off their proverbial couches and stand for the Anthem…?

  • Matthew Marczi

    Tomlin thought he could make it be about football, but in doing so, he screwed it all up.

  • Big White

    I can read between the lines. Takes a trained eye.

  • pcantidote

    “Roethlisberger said that the team will be out on the field for the remainder of the season, but it is yet to be determined what will happen while they are out there.”

    Jesus Christ. If you want to stand, stand. If you want to kneel, kneel. What the hell is so complicated here? They way they are acting reminds me of big corporate rah rah team nonsense. Enough already.

  • pcantidote

    Why are they proverbial couches?

  • Paul Rainey

    Talk about fumbling Goodell said “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL our great game and all of our players, and the failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” Which players was he talking about Aaron Hernadez? Ray Lewis? Ray Rice? The player driving drunk that killed a man going home from work? The mumerous players he suspends every year for drug use? The others that beat on their wives and girlfriends. I’m confused which players he was talking about. What a farce and a horrible leader. Leaders lead they don’t try to find ways to avoid conflict. I predicted prior to the season the Steelers would not make the playoffs and am now more convinced.

  • SteelersDepot

    You really this dense?

  • Steve Johnson

    No one should ever use their job as a platform to protest. And for thevrecord, if I did that, I would be fired. Second, protest, nothing wrong with that, when you stop and look at some of the things taking place, I understand why people are protesting. But, protesting and not standing for the National Anthem doesn’t help the cause.

  • John Noh

    Ah got it. Makes sense. So I’m guessing (wild one, I know) Xavier Grimble will NOT get the nod this week. Maybe Vance McDonald though.

  • Steve Johnson

    You know, this thing is much bigger than Tomlin.

  • RMSteeler

    Yeah, I said what Al did wasn’t a protest. Didn’t specifically mention the others because no one got a chance to. The team chose the best option from none that were good. By not taking the field, there were no optics for a protest. If a player wants to, they can still do it on their own time. If they had chosen to all go out and stand arm in arm, Al wouldn’t have done that. He probably would have stood at one end of the line with one arm at his side and one over his heart, with a team mates hand on his shoulder. That would have shown optics with solidarity. Unless someone(s) decided to kneel. That’s why it was best in this case to stay in.

  • The Chin

    How bad does Mike Tomlin dread tomorrow’s presser? Lol

  • RMSteeler

    He could pull out his Tomlinism’s playbook so know on knew what he was saying, lol. I’d expect a verbal tapd ance, but I could be wrong. EDIT: no one, tap dance.

  • Big White

    Are you going to ban me because i think a certain way?? Go on push the button, you know you want to.

  • LucasY59

    I just hope he keeps calling all this distraction BS (the reason behind the protest isnt BS, but the distraction definitely is)

  • RMSteeler

    I hate to say it, but I’d rather have Heyward answer questions as a team leader.

  • RMSteeler

    Agree

  • RMSteeler

    C’mon man!

  • RevDrEBuzz

    Obviously.

  • pcantidote

    Has to be up there with the time he stepped out on the field in Baltimore.

  • RevDrEBuzz

    “And I don’t think anybody has a problem with what he did.”

    Seems Tomlin has a bit of an issue with it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I bet he’s not going to sit next to him in the lunch room now.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Grimble might have to carry McDonald’s shoulder pads this week.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Did you know that I voted for Kim Jong Un in the 2017 US presidential election?

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s got to be worse than after the Jacoby Jones and Facebook Live ones. He tried to make it about football only and he dun goofed.

  • JNick

    Actually, no. Players protested, but they did so out of sight of the cameras. If no one wanted to kneel or show some “sign of solidarity” it would have been a non issue.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I bet he was talking about players other than them.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Personally, I think this was Tomlin’s mistake as well. He’s worried about optics over anything else here, because the team is going to support one another regardless of whether or not some kneel or whatever. He just wanted it to ‘look’ united and it backfired.

  • cencalsteeler

    Wow! Chaos between AV and the tunnel? Just not buying what Ben is selling. Talk about back tracking. That statement does him no favors, imo. Today, I feel like I’m hung over, but I’m not. What a mess!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Milliken Steeler

    I knew it! j/k

  • JNick

    The site can cover what it wants. If you don’t want to cover the press conference, you can simply not do it. You can write an article about the site not covering the political aspects and talk about the game. But by writing articles and then discouraging comments on what you write, it’s equivalent to the Steelers debacle yesterday. Either do it and invite the backlash, or simply stay away.

  • SteelersDepot

    No, just for being an idiot.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Look at stadium personnel in the pic with AV.

  • Matthew Marczi

    This is a Steelers news and analysis website. Things that are newsworthy are going to be talked about. If we didn’t do that we wouldn’t be doing our jobs. The function of this site is to be a one-stop shop for all Steelers-related information.

    The only comments that we discourage are hostile and abusive ones.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Do you need unity on this issue to have unity as a ball team? IMHO, I don’t think so. I would prefer the players to have a more proactive statement/response regarding this issue. Their pulpit is huge and their voice is loud be positive

  • Matthew Marczi

    Actually, literally no. Al just confirmed once again that nobody protested. Yes, some players wanted to protest. But the decision to be off the field entirely was a decision to remove themselves from the protest equation entirely.

  • Steelerfan56

    Stand, sit, kneel, roll around on the ground for Pete’s sake….just beat Baltimore please. I respect every players right to express themselves in a way that is non violent and can be viewed by a diverse audience (including children) but let’s get back to football please. I can watch CSPAN if I want to follow politics.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Al just confirmed during his press conference that everybody in the locker room is united over the issue and that they respect each other’s desire to either stand or do something else. He said that he was one of the first to support the things that Kaepernick was protesting, but not the form of protest, and that the locker room collectively understood that there were issues but that they were not in their control. It’s not an issue among them whether or not some think kneeling for the anthem is a legitimate method of protest.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah that wasn’t good. But Al’s press conference I thought was very good.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Agree!!!

  • NinjaMountie

    Okay….that’s some funny stuff right there. I don’t care where you fall in this debate!!!
    Good one!!!

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Rodman as his VP

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    What time did the bong hits start?

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    What did Hayward say? He seems to an insightful person.

  • JNick

    That’s not what Tomlin said.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Agree as it should be. We all have different experiences so our views will be different

  • JNick

    No. You are discouraging comments, period. Ice read nothing hostile or abusive on this thread. Again, you can report what you want. It’s up to you. Don’t get upset when we comment on the articles you write. Don’t want it to turn political, don’t bring it to the site.
    Again, like the Steelers, doing both is worse than choosing one and goig with it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Honesty I didn’t see that, the only thing I saw that he said is that Villanueva told him he felt kind of embarrassed when he saw the pictures of himself standing away from his teammates, which is something Villanueva said himself half a dozen times during his own press conference.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Well of course. The point guard needs a rebounder.

  • MJK

    BS just like your play. Stick to football. tell your stories to the family’s waiting for their sons and daughters to come home or never made it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yes it is. Are you kidding me? Go back and read what he said. You seem like you’re motivated to think otherwise. Tomlin wanted there to be a unity of decision and when there was no consensus on what to do it was agreed that the best course of action was to remove themselves from the situation. Not being on the field WAS NOT intended by the team as an act of protest.

  • NinjaMountie

    Okay, I’ve been seeing a narrative pushed from my side of the isle (right). Lets try and put this in perspective. The anthem is not meant to only represent the military or honor those who fought for this country. The anthem doesn’t belong to only veterans. Put aside this new debate about the words of the anthem, its purpose is to honor ALL citizens of this country. This means the warriors and the pacifists, the businessman and the farmer, the conservatives and the liberals, and the protesters and those who don’t.
    For me, I think their narrative is convoluted and mostly false. I’m not going to combat that with another false narrative by pretending that they mean to disrespect my country or my status as a vet.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Where am I discouraging comments? And again, if the mission of the site is to provide full coverage of news and analysis of the team, then it’s NOT a choice about what to cover. If something is news, we have to cover it in order to carry out the function of the site.

  • Steve Branning

    I for one will not be watching. Lost all respect for the players. This form of protest is spitting on every serviceman who’s been wounded or lost their lives since this country was formed

  • MJK

    cant wait till Baltimore kicks your butts just like the bears, Never saw ben this weak lies

  • Matthew Marczi

    Are you missing the fact that it wasn’t a protest?

  • MJK

    action says it all what you did is clearly wrong , BS

  • will

    No captain for the Ravens game I guess……..

  • MJK

    worst talk ever

  • budabar

    This is now a divided team going down the tubes, a real shame

  • Matthew Marczi

    Listen to Villanueva’s talk then, it was infinitely better.

  • Hagen Rinde

    thx! I must admit that it’s absolutely hard to watch as a European. I don’t want to hurt anybodys feelings but I really wonder what this anthem thing is all about. Sorry but back to sports please..

  • Matthew Marczi

    Probably McDonald, actually.

  • NinjaMountie

    Yeah….I just don’t believe that and I highly, highly doubt that is the case.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah, this is not an issue between the players themselves. It’s between the team and public perception.

  • NinjaMountie

    This stuff be getting crazy in here. I have never seen so many over-reactions in my life.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s totally at another level. Really unfortunate.

  • NinjaMountie

    You know, I’m different. While I disagree with the protestors it makes me proud. They’re expressing themselves peacefully in a country that promised them the freedom to do just that. That’s what I fought to protect.
    In a way, them protesting is a great big thank you to veterans. It’s like watching a kid enjoy a present you bought them.

  • NinjaMountie

    You guys are way more patient than me. I’d have my banning button giving off steam.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I won’t lie, I’ve had practice over the past four years, and I’m putting it to good use lately.

  • Matthew Marczi

    To be clear, this is what Alejandro Villanueva just said today, confirming that the decision to stay in the tunnel by the team was no intended to be an act of protest:

    “I could not even tell you who was going to take a knee. But all of my teammates wanted to stand up for the national anthem [as a united team]. They did not want this to be a distraction at all. Their 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 protesting, but stay away from the situation.” – Alejandro Villanueva

  • Jaybird

    Ninja- great post. Your a class act man.

  • Jaybird

    How many people at the frigging game are on their cell phones during the anthem . Or walking back to their seats with a beer in each hand.

  • cencalsteeler

    Someone is not being honest. Foster claims AV had special privelage to go outside the tunnel. Ben claims there was chaos between he and Al so he couldn’t join him. AVs interview goes against Fosters comments. My hunch tells me Foster covered for AV. AV covered for the team and Ben covered his own a**.

  • NinjaMountie

    To move the topic a little. I dislike the hypocrisy of the owners. They aren’t really behind the players. If they were Kaepernick wouldn’t be out of a job. Actually, seeing as the optics couldn’t get much worse, if I were an owner, I’d hurry up and sign Colin. Shoot he’s better than some QBs that are starting right now.

  • ryan72384

    Lol Come on Ben seriously? In all the tunnel craziness we lost our 6’8 left tackle. He just wandered off.. haha ok

  • NinjaMountie

    Thanks, Jay.

  • Ike Evans

    Yea that’s an interesting point

  • NinjaMountie

    “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth”

    This was Tomlin’s and the team’s mistake. They tried to straddle the fence and had an uncomfortable fall.
    Also, my first time quoting the Bible on the internet and I did it on a sports site. That’s bonus points when I croak, right?

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think it’s just miscommunication, both then and now. Villanueva said that he spoke to the ‘leadership’, probably for the most part meaning Roethlisberger and Heyward, maybe a couple other guys, about if he could be up front and be in view of the flag. He said he got the go-ahead to do so (and probably didn’t need it in the first place), but basically implied that he didn’t realize how far ahead he’d walked and how separated he got from where his teammates were standing, which is why he said he felt embarrassed seeing the pictures and what it looked like. Villanueva did a far better job of explaining things than Roethlisberger did.

  • Jaybird

    How long is a ban ? Lifetime ?

  • Alan Tman

    I think it is between the players, coach, and ownership, because the owner has been quite silent on the subject, but this fiasco has applied pressure. This was all PR. The truth will ultimately come out.

  • walter

    I say in the future the team should be on the field for the anthem. For those that want to kneel, let them kneel and suffer the consequences.
    Afterall its a free country.

  • cencalsteeler

    Agree, but how do you explain Fosters comments, lol?

  • Tasso222222

    Why not do this again? Sports, social and political circumstances have obviously intersected here.

    Paddy – l like to think I’ve earned everything I own as well but that doesn’t mean everyone was born in the same environment with the same opportunities. There were generations of black people who for forced to be illiterate or faced punishment by physical harm or death. That’s had a ripple effect to where we sit today. As Al rightly pointed out choosing to take a stance during the national anthem does not mean our military or servicemen are being disrespected. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

  • Edjhjr

    Ok. I’ll try again. What specifically are these protests about. Did somebody do something, who was it? Where their many instances of this? When did this happen?

    Name just one? Name ten, twenty. I’d like to work on fixing it. Name the person, the people. Name one group or person and say what they did or are doing.

    I want to make it better , what exactly should I do?

  • tiredofallthis

    And young black males between the ages of 18 and 34 are responsible for 50% of the murders in this Country, despite being less than 5% of the population. So given the fact that young black males are 10 times more likely to be murderers, only being killed by police 2.5 times more than the rest of the population shows a lot of restraint by the police.

  • tiredofallthis

    Maybe they wouldn’t have stunk up Chicago so bad if they had bothered to be more concerned about winning than what they planned to do during the national anthem.

  • tiredofallthis

    You appreciated what Tomlin said after the game? Wow.

  • MDSteelerfan

    Delete Trump’s twitter account for starters…

  • tiredofallthis

    As a season ticket holder and a Steelers fan for over 50 years, I am disgusted and ashamed by what the Steelers did yesterday. And I called the Steelers this morning and let them know too. Just let them try that crap at the next home game and see what happens.

  • Edjhjr

    I think I have an idea. Could be wrong. But every person who protests , on every pro team, with every other person on the team, with the owners of the team, and all the members of all their families, should go to the most impoverished are of Baltimore. On Saturday night at about 1 AM. Go to each door they can find , knock and when someone answers , tell them they want to go in and ask them what they need from them to help.

    After that, then go to LA, Oakland, Philly, Chicago. And do the same thing.

    Then you won’t have to protest as much. You may be doing something about it.

    BUT I COULD BE WRONG.

  • tiredofallthis

    Damn right it is Tomlin’s fault. I was talking with a friend of mine who’s a Pats fan, and he said it didn’t seem like Belichek had taken a position on the whole anthem thing. That’s because he was doing his job trying to prepare his team to win a game, as opposed to Tomlin who was too busy to worry about winning the game because he had really important things to worry about like the national anthem.

  • JT

    Extremely well said. Bob Costas made this agreement on CNN today better than any of us could. Bumper sticker Patriotism has essentially made the Flag a military symbol. Which a very important aspect, is not everything that America is.

  • tiredofallthis

    The people that disrespect the anthem disrespect the entire country, not just veterans.

  • tiredofallthis

    And how wasn’t it a protest?

  • tiredofallthis

    Not a protest? What complete and utter nonsense!!! If it wasn’t a protest then why did they vote to stay off the field while the national anthem was being played? So they could drink more Gatorade? The only thing worse than protesting the national anthem is not having enough courage of your convictions to acknowledge that is exactly what you did.

  • tiredofallthis

    Not a protest? What total garbage.

  • JT

    Can we start to have some kind of test before commenting? Like what besides a toilet is Najeh Davenport known for pooping in? We’re starting to get some extreme political commenters in here. Not Steelers or football fans, just trolls.

  • Katie

    The NFL should stop playing the National Anthem. Why play it and disrespect Americans week after week.

  • Katie

    They should stop playing the National Anthem all together. Better than insulting people week after week.

  • Matthew Marczi

    The owner released a second statement yesterday. Not silent. I think the truth is pretty simple: a minority of players wanted to kneel. Tomlin wasn’t cool with images that could imply dissent, so he told the players to agree on something. They couldn’t agree on anything on the field so they agreed to not participate. Villanueva asked the team leaders if he could be out for the anthem enough to see the flag and they agreed–he probably didn’t even need to ask. The problem is that they didn’t coordinate this at all (remember, this was in a foreign stadium, not Heinz Field), and Villanueva didn’t realize how far up the tunnel he would have to walk in order to see the flag, and how far he had moved from where his teammates were lined up, providing the ugly optics that have been the primary catalyst of all this since then.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Don’t know, I’ve never done it myself, actually not even sure if I can. I assume it’s probably ‘permanent’ unless somebody asks to be unbanned and says they’ll stop causing problems.

  • Matthew Marczi

    This is true, I have noticed at least a couple of new commenters whose post histories are entirely from political websites before the past day or two.

  • Matthew Marczi

    They did it so that nobody would be exposed or isolated. I don’t think it’s complicated to understand.

  • Matthew Marczi

    How about you ask Villanueva, who said it himself? Or was he lying? Maybe he’s part of an Illuminati cover-up? We’d better get to the bottom of this!

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    not the point Matt, in my opinion. All you have to do is troll around the internet. post gazette, tribune, their facebook pages. Die hard Steelers like myself are burning their gear and in public. American, most anyways, dont want to see symbols of unpatriotic gestures by a bunch of wealthy SJWs. thats one reason why we have Trump in the white house

  • Matthew Marczi

    There’s a difference between intending disrespect toward somebody or something and an outside party inferring disrespect from somebody’s actions. Once again, Villanueva himself said that he understands that those who choose to kneel around the league intend no disrespect to the military or the country as a whole.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I honestly didn’t really read his comments, I guess I’ll have to take a look at it and I’ll get back to you.

    Edit: Okay, the only thing I’m seeing is that Foster said Villanueva had special clearance. Unless he said something else, I’m not sure where the contradiction is. Villanueva said that he asked the team leadership if he could be up front in view of the flag.

  • tiredofallthis

    If refusing to stand and refusing to come on the field for the national anthem are not intended as disrespect towards the Country, then exactly what is are they intended as ? It is impossible to infer such conduct as anything other than disrespect for the Country.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Do you even like the Steelers? All your prior post history is on political sites, so what are you doing here, trolling?

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    Tomlin stood on the sideline to attention during the Anthem, NOT 100 percent

  • Matthew Marczi

    How did justice of a social variety, or being a warrior, ever become a bad thing, I wonder? Justice is good, right?

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    The Steelers are back tracking.

  • NinjaMountie

    Even if that is their intent, which I doubt for the vast majority, it’s still their right.

  • Matthew Marczi

    This is too simple for somebody of reasonable intelligence to be unable to understand unless they’re motivated not to. I don’t think you’re here to have a sincere conversation. Watch Villanueva’s interview, he explains it himself.

  • tiredofallthis

    You are a real piece of work, aren’t you? I’ve been a Steelers fan for over 50 years, well before you were born I suspect. And I’ve been a Steelers season ticket holder for nearly 20 years, after taking them over from my father. What the Steelers did yesterday was reprehensible, and as I said earlier. I dare them to try that crap at the next home game.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Tomlin said before the game that that was the intention.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    well to most Americans theres only one justice, and “social justice” by nature is an oxymoron.

  • nutty32

    Great call . Ben’s always been a drama queen.

  • Matthew Marczi

    1) I’ve never seen you before because you’ve never posted here before, as far as I can tell. We’ve had a lot of people who have never been here before coming over from political websites with the intention of causing trouble, so it’s a reasonable thing for me to wonder if you are even here as a fan or as something with an agenda.

    2) They already said they’re going to be out on the field in the future.

  • Matthew Marczi

    How does that even make sense? Justice is justice. Justice in the political sphere is political justice. Justice in the medical sphere is medical justice. Justice in the fincancial sphere is financial justice. Justice in the environmental sphere is environmental justice. Justice in the criminal sphere is criminal justice. Justice in any sphere is justice of that variety.

    It doesn’t seem like you know what an oxymoron is.

  • Guy Garcia

    If the talaban couldn’t hide in a cave, why would Tomlin try to hide in a tunnel?

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    please give me a definitive rational definition of social justice please? I can ask 10 other people the same question, with 10 different answers. See my point? Now ask 10 people to define justice, which is a real concreate concept, not an abstraction ?

    Social justice can mean so many different things to so many different people.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    i see we wont agree on this, but thats ok. agree to disagree

  • They botched the whole day; the pregame & game. As for pregame, they were forthcoming they made a mistake. Like everyone else they deserve a 2nd chance. As for the game, they throw in a clunker every year, it might be what they needed to get their butts in gear. On to Baltimore

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    because it bacame to much to the right. SJWs became “busy bodies”

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    wanting to always tel;l others how to live

  • Matthew Marczi

    The definition of social justice is justice in the social sphere…

    If you think justice is “a real concrete concept”, then you’ve never studied philosophy at all. One of the primary questions it has historically dealt with is “what is justice?”

  • Matthew Marczi

    Everybody tells everybody how to live. Don’t conservatives tell gay people not to get married? Are they social justice warriors because they’re always wanting to tell others how to live?

  • tiredofallthis

    1. I have posted here before.
    2. Hopefully they are realizing what a huge mistake they made yesterday.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    dont agree, Some conservatives are against making laws which entitled gay couples to receive monetary benefits of marriage yes. but most could care less if gays live together

  • tiredofallthis

    I suspect that I have a higher IQ than you do. So precisely what is the intent of kneeling during the national anthem and/or hiding under the stands during the national anthem?

  • JohnB

    Thin out the herd.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m sure you can understand my position here as I try to help run a site and keep order. It doesn’t do me any favors when outsiders want to come in here and make things more difficult for me.

    Roethlisberger, Heyward, and Villanueva already came out today and said they messed up. Villanueva said that ‘butchered’ it, and I think he’s right. It will be interesting to see exactly what they do on Sunday. I would guess maybe linking arms.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    im glad we were able to chat with out disrespect. These past two days have been very hard for me. I don’t want to disrespect anyone, and wish for unity. but unfortunately the times say otherwise.

  • Matthew Marczi

    So that’s why it was illegal up until a few years ago right? Because only a few people actually cared?

  • tiredofallthis

    Yes, it is their right. And it is also my right in response to their protest to decide that I no longer want to spend money on their product.

  • Matthew Marczi

    That I definitely agree with.

  • tiredofallthis

    You are such a clown. If its not a protest then what is it?

  • Steeler-Drew

    I read enough of this garbage from you. What race is most responsible for the ambush and the premeditated murder of the Police. Do we get to get own protest or all of the Police that have been murdered as a result of a retaliatory racist hate crime get swept under the rug along with their families who suffer from their losses to this day.

    How about the Police in Dallas who were the protecting the crowd protesting against them “the Police” when a sniper took their lives. 5 Police killed in fact and seven wounded in that ambush while they were protecting your rights. Oh and don’t forget Goodell refused a request to the Cowboys to wear a patch in their honor but supports freedom of speech in this case which could not be even more hypocritical. And that’s just one of several ambushes that continues to go on today. Give me a fu#@%*ing break.

  • tiredofallthis

    So some of the players wanted to protest by kneeling, and the team decided that instead of having those protestors singled out they would all protest by not coming on to the field during the anthem. Got it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Boasting that you suspect that you have a higher IQ than somebody is certainly a proven trait of those who have high IQs, so I totally believe you must be right.

    I can’t fully answer your question without entering an aspect of the conversation that I’ve promised that I won’t delve into, but honestly if Villanueva, as a decorated war veteran, can understand why others kneel, then I’d like to think that most reasonable people could understand as well. And they did not “hide”. They were actually probably in the tunnel so that they could still be near the anthem, as opposed to being in the locker room.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Why are you so insistent that it was a protest?

  • Matthew Marczi

    I give up with you. You’re a lost cause. I’m not going to respond to anything else from you. You’re not interested in sincerely trying to understand, so I’m wasting my time.

  • pittsburghjoe

    I wonder where this will ultimately go? Unfortunately, I think this will only escalate and then you have to ask how far? I would love for these protestors to help find a solution to their issues instead of making it into a civil unrest issue. The fun in football is gone.

  • tiredofallthis

    I didn’t boast that I had a higher IQ, I only said that I suspected that I do in response to your insinuation that I am not a person of reasonable intelligence. And you steadfastly refuse to answer my question of what the intent was of hiding under the stands yesterday during the national anthem if it wasn’t as a protest.

  • tiredofallthis

    So what was it if it wasn’t a protest?

  • tiredofallthis

    I’m a lost cause because I say the Steelers protested against their own country by refusing to come on to the field during the national anthem? Provide me with an alternative explanation and I would be happy to consider it.

  • Edjhjr

    I think my comments get deleted. Why I don’t know.

    A few weeks ago I went to see Cher with my wife ( she really wanted to go) Cher is extremely liberal I’m not.

    She didn’t make one political comment.

    I think she should call the NFL owners and give them advise. Then call the Steelers office and tell them the season started practice is over.

    Steelers should vote on if they want to win a game and not much else.

  • nikki stephens

    Just a reminder to those who want to latch on the noble social justice hero. Your not gonna get sympathy, understanding, a dialogue when you take on the anthem and flag devoted towards respecting the country you’ve been blessed to live in and those serving past and present. The time to protest events & problems not related to the location your playing and aren’t even federal officials but local law enforcement.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    culture and politics in my lifetime have always had a cycle. The left enjoyed their 8 year cycle on culture and politics. Now the right will shift the culture back to the center and maybe to the right slightly, which is where politics and culture mostly has been spent in our past history. It a very normal occurrence that i have seen in my life, and in the history of our republic

  • nikki stephens

    2nd google search : kapernick t shirt malcom x meeting castro

    Just another reminder of the intellectual giant that started the “divisiveness”, Obviously, this QB was unaware of castro’s legacy of harboring cop killers, executing Christians and gays, jailing and killing political prisoners with no trials, and extreme racism toward Africans. This is your leader that started all the divisiveness.

  • pittsburghjoe

    So then they will find an alternative time to protest pregame or, gasp, during the game. I am sure they will also find something new to be insulted about.

  • Edjhjr

    How about delete twitter, the flag, the anthem, the Washington monument, how about we delete everything. Then somebody may “feel” better.

    The homeless will really see improvement.

    How about deleting taxes I pay for all the social programs our flag represents.

    Oh I GET IT I’M NOT PAYING ENOUGH. That’ s what the protests are about

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    now that is funny

  • Michael Dobson

    yesh

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    he didnt,,, he stood on the sideline with Haley during Anthem

  • #beatthepats

    Nice job Tomlin/ Ben-what would you do at home get introduced then run back in the tunnell ? Low iq decision, after a great few weeks of positive additions to the secondary and tj watts start, the season will go out the window with this stupidity ,loss of fans and loss to the ravens.time for a new coach and president.

  • Rob

    Football is just their place of work, it doesn’t dissolve them of the realities they face when they take off their helmets a la Michael Bennett.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    While the anthem played, Tomlin and three
    assistant coaches stood on the sideline. Roethlisberger said he was
    unaware at the time that the coaches were on the field. t

    “We could only concern ourselves with where we were at the moment,” he said.

  • nikki stephens

    and its rare, she is widely known during election season for lecturing. Maybe she knows what the NFL doesn’t just shut up and sing – don’t alienate 70% of your audience

  • Katie

    Maybe they should play with those 3rd Wave Feminist pink pu$$y hats. Abusing women is a bigger issue for them in their real lives anyway.

  • Dan

    Glad they’ll be out there next week (and hopefully they’ll show up for the game itself) and at least they’re making an attempt at damage control. Disappointed that it’s not really clear that they’re unified in whether or not they’re divided. Maybe it’s ok if they just agree to disagree and try to play good football.

  • Mike Galloway

    Yeesh! As poorly planned and executed as the game!

  • Kick

    Men don’t kneel, it’s that simple. The founders wouldn’t have kneeled for no one. That is what the song is about.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Did you just insult everybody in the entire world who prays?

  • RMSteeler

    Fortunately, no players were seen taking a knee in the tunnel. The only taking a knee I want to see is Landry at the end of a blowout. But I’m not holding my breath on a blowout. When it happens it better be Landry.

  • Kick

    No

  • CP21

    If worrying about and talking about what is going to happen before the game and during the anthem is the focus of this team, they will lose Sunday. Focus on what you’re paid to do and what fans attend/watch the games for….to see winning football. You are losing your fan base Steelers, wake-up and smell the coffee before it’s too late.

  • CP21

    After reading many of these posts and especially those of Marczi, it’s clear he and many of his “supporters” simply don’t get it. Marczi, do you know who Pat Tillman was? He was an All Pro safety for the Arizona Cardinals who gave up his career to join the Army Rangers after 9/11. Pat died tragically as the result of friendly fire while on patrol in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart posthumously for his courage. When these NFL players take a knee, they defile the memory of one of their own who loved his country enough to defend it, defend our flag and ultimately to die doing so. You want to protest, do it on your own time and not during the playing of the anthem which is revered by many people in this country….particularly by those who chose to serve to defend it.

  • DAWAARE

    Stop playing like sshhhiiiaat on the road plllllz

  • Bobby Lewis

    Your last sentence is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Do cops show restraint when they kill a black man who’s car broke down? Or how about when they kill a black child 2 seconds after they get out of their squad car? And even if your statistic was correct (it’s not), it has nothing to do with cops killing innocent black people. Black people are disproportionately killed by cops. That’s a fact. I don’t understand why that’s so difficult to grasp. But thanks for hitting me with your trash-ass take.

  • Bobby Lewis

    Few things:
    – Please proofread, Steeler-Drew
    – Why do you capitalize “police”?
    – Do you have any statistics whatsoever to back up your notion that one race is overwhelmingly responsible for cop deaths or are you just making stuff up?
    – What racism do cops deal with? And how do you know what the motivation is behind someone killing a cop?
    – I actually live in Dallas and work in the downtown area where the shooting happened. The shooter wasn’t a sniper, nor was he representing anybody but himself. It’s a very slippery slope to paint with a broad brush like that, bruh. But please, tell me more about this rash of police ambushes because for every one of those, there are countless instances of a coward in a uniform killing an innocent black person.

  • steeltown

    Smh

    Im glad that the issues are being discussed by all now. Hopefully something comes of this weekend and passed events. Discussion, communication and ultimately action are necessary.

    That said, keeping this all in mind, lets also get back to Football.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You said men don’t kneel. You kneel when you pray.

  • Alan Tman

    The owner said nothing but he agreed with the commissioner. He said nothing before Trump. The only reason he said that is because Trump is messing with his money. Proof we signed Vick with drama. He stinks compared to Kaepernick. Jerry Richardson is his best owner friend. We know his position. Tomlin is under direct orders and why else would he be so emotional about this? Hey it’s his team, but that’s the reality of the situation.

  • NinjaMountie

    Don’t hold your breath. The issues aren’t being talked about. Last week something like 6 players took a knee. Trump speaks and now it’s a couple hundred.
    This isn’t about the issues anymore. This is about rebelling against Trump and anything he says by a certain group of people.

  • NinjaMountie

    Feel free. I’ve never claimed you couldn’t do otherwise. There is all kinds of stupid in this world and people are free to partake in it as the see fit. Enjoy!

  • Tim Bowman

    Hello! I’m new. I was looking for a bit of “Steeler Talk” so…I ended up here. The point of distraction the “Anthem Protests” have caused is obvious; look at the responses? “The Game” is now a secondary consideration when “The Game” formerly was a point of passion and, to some extent, an escape from the realities of every day Life. The “protests” (for or against) have closed off this ‘escape’ forever…the tempest is out of the teapot. “The Game” now is “For or Against” political ideals…and I’m very concerned that we—-the same people unable to see the future clearly with respect to where these “anthem protests” would ultimately lead towards >>replacement of football as “The Game”—we would not see the elements now appearing suggesting our country is inching closer towards civil war.
    When our passions for football can so easily be redirected from even the most fervent followers of this sport we love so much…it is not a large leap to conclude we are at the edge of abyss staring directly into the void. I hope this certainly does not end up as a Civil War…but I also believe the Left and the Right are dragging the country directly into open confrontation in the streets. Perhaps it is inevitable? I do not know? What I do know is this: “Unless sane people call an end to all of this Left/Right Political Posturing, we most certainly live in dangerous times.” I wish talking Steelers was easier” like the Good Ole’ Days!? But everyone knows there is no such thing as the Good Ole’ Days. To the Left and Right: “Keep on ignoring each other’s points looking for compromise and you will essentially destroy the greatest country in human history.” Yes! I believe it has gotten that bad! Go Steelers!

  • MAKB

    i was always tought you stand for the anthem and the freedom and equaility it stands for. The rest of the time you fight inequality.

  • will

    “And what of those who took
    the knee? They did not stop a single young man from getting shot in Chicago.
    They did not raise a single soul out of poverty. They did not stop any child
    from being abused. They did not help a single Puerto Rican facing the
    destruction of their livelihood. But they made the players feel good about
    themselves. They divided the nation. They brought politics into something most
    Americans turn to in order to shut out politics. That just increased the
    divisiveness of it. And the homeless vets in the country stayed homeless.
    Donald Trump stayed President. And more Americans tuned out of another area of
    the national conversation where they used to go to escape the yelling. The
    players could use their millions and their names to raise real issues. They
    could have marched in the streets. They could have used their fame to draw
    media attention to the starving. The could have joined together and flown to
    Chicago and demanded an end to young men killing young men and worked to end
    gangs. They could have used their fame to connect with those young men and
    mentor them. Instead, they put their knee on the ground before playing a game
    to make money. All it did was further divide the nation. Instead of trying to
    find a way to steer us all to our better angels and focus on the injustices and
    problems that really do exist, the millionaires decided to protest the flag and
    anthem of the country that made them millionaires and cheered them on. They,
    led by Colin Kaepernick, took the easy way out. They virtue signaled without
    doing the hard labor of affecting real change.” – E. Erickson
    And I agree.

  • Richard

    Guys
    I am a British citizen although I did live in Pittsburgh for 2 years in the 1980’s. I thought you might find it interesting to hear a foreign perspective on this issue.

    One of the things that America is most respected for throughout the world is the right for free speech. This includes the right to protest.

    It may be uncomfortable that this protest takes place during the national anthem but by the very fact so many people are talking about it and some of the issues behind it – then surely this protest can be deemed a success.

    I think Voltaire said ” I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

    So let’s move on here – don’t burn your shirts. You can protest and still love your country – they are not mutually exclusive!

    Let’s get behind the team and put Sunday’s debacle behind us.
    This is a great site and the work that Matt and the team put in is greatly appreciated from over this side of the pond.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I respect your view and it is always good to get outside thought on matters. The one thing that bothers me about this is not about expression, freedom of speech or anything of that nature is that the stage in which it was brought up on. Most people, like myself, work hard every week and I watch the Steelers and am deeply involved with every move they make to escape briefly from the real world to only be steeped into something that has nothing to do with getting away. I watch football to watch football not to watch people/players to make political statements.

  • Richard

    I agree with you Shannon.
    I love the steelers and the sport is what is important here.
    If they want to make political statements they have a right to do so.
    We can also decide if we let that impact on us or not.
    I can only hope that we are talking about a much better performance in Baltimore than the recent loss in Chicago.
    Enjoy your day 😄

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Thank You and God Bless.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I always tell my kids talk is cheap and actions speak louder then words. By the Steelers actions what was being said? To ME the National Anthem is about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness so for ME when we do not show honor to the National Anthem we are looking down on the basic principles that have given individual lives that they most likely never would have lived any where in the world. Is America perfect? By no means but what is the alternative? North Korea? Cuba? where you have no right to go against those in charge, Saudia Arabia? where women can not even sit at a man’s table in public while eating. For ME it is more then just honoring those that have served their country, so much more and so when I saw this live at Soldier Field my heart sunk. Once again to ME it is a protest for what the United States stands for and if players that make a substantial living cannot find other means of bringing out their message my message is I do not have to watch or continue being a fan. I will find other methods of briefly escaping this nonsensical world.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    No offense, ur to me this is a non-story.
    Unity as a team is built by working/sweating/winning together, and cannot be altered by this, as ultimately all the players have the right to do as they please.
    This is akin to saying that they will be divided by their perspective religions, or lack thereof.

  • steeltown

    Sadly, you may be right

  • Charles Haines

    “They” did not divide the nation one bit, the moron who resides in the White House did that all by himself and Sunday was the fall out. The pumpkin fuhrer owns this 100%.

  • pittfan

    The other side of the narrative is that this is because the players are black. Also a false narrative. If we think back, what this began as was a protest against police and the judicial system. I dont even hear that mentioned much anymore.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I have never even stated my opinion about players taking a knee, so how could you possible know what I “get”? I merely said that it’s not against the rules for them to do so. And of course I know who Pat Tillman was. Every football fan who’s been around more than a couple years knows. And his family wants his legacy to stop being used for political points.

  • Amante Da Prez

    That might be the most ignorant comment I’ve read on here…..wow

  • Kick

    I should have said free men don’t kneel.

  • Amante Da Prez

    That wouldn’t have made it any better. Kneeling is a form of prayer in several places around the world including our great country. I don’t say this to degrade you or insult you but rather as a brother. When you speak in absolutes you will quite often draw offense from others. What makes our country different is tolerance, diversity and true freedom to live as we please without oppression. That’s why sports are so awesome, Dan Rooney and a lot of his players could not have come from more extremely different backgrounds but he treated them as equals and embraced the differences in their cultures. So let’s go Steelers, and not let the president or any other entity divide us as fans and fellow countrymen!!