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 Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t take to the field Sunday as the national anthem played before the team faced the Chicago Bears, and that decision isn’t sitting well with some fans.
Steelers fans across America posted videos on social media showing them burning their memorabilia after the team failed to show up for the anthem. The protest comes amid tension between NFL players, who first started taking a knee during the anthem last year in protest of inequality and police violence, and President Donald Trump, who called the protests disrespectful.
Several team owners and executives said they wouldn’t tolerate anyone in their organizations protesting. They could be fired if they had.
“It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus,” Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt’s long time team owner, said of protesting. “Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”
As the NFL, NBA and MLB have seen players, owners and teams protest and remark on social media in the wake of President Donald Trump's comments Friday and throughout the weekend about athletes who peacefully protest during the national anthem, several NASCAR owners weighed in.
Richard Petty was asked if drivers protesting during the anthem would be fired, and he said, “You’re right.”
“Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States,” Petty said.
Initial reports were that the entire Pittsburgh Steelers football team would stay in the locker room during the national anthem for their game in Chicago after incendiary comments over the weekend from President Donald Trump regarding players who peacefully protest.
According to the Kansas City Star, Brennan Gilmore tweeted the snapshot of his 97-year-old grandfather, John Middlemas of Willard, Missouri, early Sunday. By Monday morning, it had been shared more than 100,000 times.
"I wanted to communicate what I always told to my grandkids and everybody else: When they'd go to bed at night, we'd tell the kids we wanted to be like Jesus," he said, adding, "I'm trying to say that you have to love everybody. ... We don't kill people. We want to make people live."