ShareThis Page

Trump's tweet & Steelers' protest: Sending the wrong message

| Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, 11:18 a.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers players stand in the tunnel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Pittsburgh Steelers players stand in the tunnel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The Steelers' Alejandreo Villanueva stands for the national anthem before the team's loss to the Bears on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Alejandreo Villanueva stands for the national anthem before the team's loss to the Bears on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.