Battle lines drawn: Fans call for boycott, burn team gear after yesterday’s disgrace

Battle lines drawn: Fans call for boycott, burn team gear after yesterday’s disgrace

It’s bad enough that every player on the Pittsburgh Steelers protested the national anthem during yesterday’s game against the Chicago Bears. But after the game, the team’s head coach, Mike Tomlin, took the one holdout — former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva — to task for breaking ranks with the rest of the team.

While the other 52 members of the squad cowered in the shadows of the locker room, Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, appeared outside the mouth of the tunnel and placed his hand on his heart as the anthem was being played.

Said Tomlin in a post-game interview:

You know, these are very divisive times for our country and for us as a football team it’s about us remaining solid. We’re not going to be divided by anything said by anyone. … [I told our players] if you feel the need to do anything I’m going to be supportive of that — as Americans you have that right. But whatever we do we’re going to do 100 percent, we’re going to do together. We’re not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda. … We were gonna be respectful of our football team.

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It’s fine to respect your team but what about the larger team we all play for?

It’s hard to know if that was the last straw for Robert L. Williams, a longtime fan, who posted a video posted to YouTube of himself burning his collection of Steelers memorabilia, including a jacket that cost $450.

According to a transcript provided by Gateway Pundit, Williams explains:

We have morals in this country. We stand for this country. My great uncle’s bones are lying in the bottom of Pearl Harbor. For this country. For the flag. For your freedom to play in the NFL and to say whatever you want to say. But you do not disrespect the flag and the country and the Constitution. … So watch this stuff burn.

The response on YouTube was overwhelmingly positive. One person wrote, “OUTSTANDING. Great respect for him. 100% right. I hope that many, many will follow his example. Thank you American Patriot. You are a REAL MAN.”

Another wrote:

It’s like I’ve been saying, It’s no longer business as usual in America. The Republic is in danger and real American Patriots are waking up to these liberal tares pretending to be Americans. They are seeing them in the general population, music, entertainment, fashion. The overwhelming majority of Americans are God, Country, Family. The Flag is a symbol of all that.

Still another said, “As a veteran, I want to say thank you!”

Many on social media have said the NFL Rulebook requires players to stand for the anthem, but a post at WXIA says not so fast:

To verify this content, we first looked at the NFL’s 2017 Official Playing Rules. Nowhere in the 2017 rulebook does the NFL mention the National Anthem. Pages 62 and 63 contain information on the enforcement of fouls.

The report added:

The last official word on the topic came from NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy in August 2016, when Colin Kaepernick first “took a knee”. According to NBC Sports, McCarthy wrote in a statement that “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.”

And while many have attributed a specific section of NFL documentation, nowhere does that document appear to be readily or publicly available from the NFL itself.

Still, you have to wonder what long-term impact this is going to have on professional football. Is this the beginning of the end for the NFL?  Does “NFL” now stand for “No Fans Left?”

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Joe Newby

Joe Newby

Joe Newby is an IT professional. He has written for Conservative Firing Line, Examiner, NewsBusters, and Spokane Faith and Values.


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