AP NEWS

Pittsburgh Steelers stay off field, Chicago Bears lock arms for national anthem

September 24, 2017 GMT

CHICAGO — The Pittsburgh Steelers opted as a team to remain off the field during the national anthem prior to their Week 3 game against the Chicago Bears following President Donald Trump’s attacks on NFL players who fail to stand during the anthem.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and some of his staff were standing during the anthem on a mostly empty sideline just minutes prior to kickoff. LT Alejandro Villanueva stood just outside the players’ tunnel with his hand over his heart during the anthem while the other 52 players on the roster remained inside.

Bears players honored the anthem and showed their unity by interlocking arms while standing. It didn’t appear that any Bears players were kneeling or sitting during the anthem.

Trump lashed out on Friday at players who chose to kneel or sit during the anthem in a speech in Alabama. The president doubled down on Twitter over the weekend by tweeting: “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....

″...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

The Steelers appeared to turn the tables on the narrative by remaining in the locker room.

The social-media reaction from NFL teams and players was strong over the weekend, from players, teams and NFL owners alike.

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