Trump's tweet & Steelers' protest: Sending the wrong message
The Soldier Field crowd sang, the Chicago Bears joined arms on the sidelines, but the Pittsburgh Steelers were nowhere to be found.
Once again President Trump had used his Twitter pulpit to create another emotional political furor.
Speaking at one of his political rallies in Alabama, he criticized NFL owners who permit players to kneel during the national anthem.
“Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag say: ‘Get that (expletive) off the field right now. Out, he's fired.'”
As with most Trump statements at rallies, blowback was immediate.
NFL players and owners took offense to the remarks.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Monday that the Steelers were protesting Mr. Trump's criticism of players who don't stand for the anthem. “I wish we could have stood out there, but what was important was being united,” Roethlisberger said.
But just as journalists shouldn't interject their personal views into their responsibility to cover the news, so the NFL workplace shouldn't be used as a stage for players' political views.
Using the sports arena to disseminate political views brings little change. Instead, players who feel passionate about what is going on in the country should take meaningful action.
Participating in the national anthem shouldn't be viewed as a political issue.
The Steelers did not take the field during the anthem to avoid a division among some players standing, some sitting, some not participating. As Steelers coach Mike Tomlin noted: “If a guy wants to go about his personal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn't be forced to choose sides.”
Freedom of speech is a right all Americans hold dear, but there comes a point where talk is cheap and what becomes important are the actions that back it up.