Ben Roethlisberger wishes he could reverse his team's stance a day removed from the Pittsburgh Steelers remaining in the locker room during the national anthem at Soldier Field before their road game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
On Monday, the Steelers' star quarterback took to his website and expressed deep regret for not taking the field to observe the anthem.
"I was unable to sleep last night and want to share my thoughts and feelings on our team’s decision to remain in the tunnel for the National Anthem yesterday," Roethlisberger wrote. "The idea was to be unified as a team when so much attention is paid to things dividing our country, but I wish we approached it differently. We did not want to appear divided on the sideline with some standing and some kneeling or sitting."
He added, "As a team, it was not a protest of the flag or the Anthem. I personally don’t believe the Anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest. For me, and many others on my team and around the league, it is a tribute to those who commit to serve and protect our country, current and past, especially the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice."
Roethlisberger continued, saying he hopes the team stands during the anthem moving forward.
The only Steelers' player who observed the national anthem on the field Sunday was offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, but in talking to reporters Monday, he claims he "unintentionally" emerged from the tunnel and, in doing so, threw his teammates under the bus.
After posting on his website, Roethlisberger addressed that, too, while speaking with the media yesterday.
"I regret not going down to Al, but Al didn't know that we weren't there," Roethlisberger said, as reported by ESPN. "Al thought we were standing with him. There was no division there. It was just the way it appeared through pictures."
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