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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ sideline at Soldier Field was almost vacant, save for a few stray workers and four members of the coaching staff who stood at attention as the Star-Spangled Banner was sung in a deep bass by Lyric Opera of Chicago veteran Wilbur Pauley.
The only Steelers player within range of his voice was offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger who stood just outside the tunnel to the locker room, near the corner of the end zone.
Rest - Steelers - Protest - Response - Donald
The rest of the Steelers chose a unique protest in response to Donald Trump’s unprovoked verbal assault on their rights, as American citizens, to protest whatever injustices they might perceive. They remained in their locker room until it was time to begin the game.
“We didn’t ask for this. This was placed upon us by circumstance,” coach Mike Tomlin said following the Steelers’ overtime loss to the Bears. “My contention was that we would not allow politics to divide us. We’re football players. We’re a football team. If many of them felt like something needed to be done, I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing.
“They couldn’t come to an understanding, so they chose to remove themselves from it.”
Previously, the Steelers had avoided any on-field national anthem protests subsequent to Colin Kaepernick’s visible campaign regarding several episodes of harsh or deadly police treatment of African-Americans that occurred in summer 2016. Steelers players always had maintained it was out of respect for Villanueva, a valued teammate.
Trump - Rant - Weekend - Rally - Alabama
However, Trump’s rant this weekend at a rally in Alabama coerced every NFL locker room into making some sort of decision.
The Steelers chose wisely: They decided not to take Trump's bait.
Trump - Friday - Night - Vitriol
What Trump wished to accomplish with his frantic Friday night vitriol was to...
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