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Steelers apologize for skipping anthem

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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007
 

The Steelers apologized Tuesday for omitting a performance of the national anthem by Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil before the nationally televised game against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.

The National Football League and the Steelers decided Monday night to forgo the anthem -- which traditionally opens sporting events in America -- after torrential rain and lightning forced a 25-minute weather delay.

"Our guys were going to send the singer out to sing immediately after they were sending the teams back on (the field)," said Steelers president Art Rooney II. "I said, 'Well, wait, because there's nobody in the stands. There's no sense in singing it when everybody's standing in the concourse.' So they waited, and the league and the network said, 'Well, now we don't have a window.' "

Greg Aiello, NFL senior vice president of public relations, said NFL representatives at the game decided to shorten pre-game warmups and other activities in order to kick off as quickly as possible.

American Legion national spokeswoman Ramona Joyce said the omission was unfortunate.

"It's a shame, if they had to make cuts, that that would be it," Joyce said. "That's the one thing everyone seems to do in unison at a game."

Veterans of Foreign Wars national spokesman Joe Davis said they weren't going to beat up on the Steelers organization "because they're wonderful to our veterans and our service members."

But, he said, "They should have still sung the national anthem because that's what we do in America, regardless of network air time. I'm sure a lesson has been learned and it won't happen again, and that's the most we can ever ask."

With the exception of the Super Bowl, national anthems rarely are part of televised NFL game broadcasts.

Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said the organization received a few calls on the subject.

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