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Posted: September 25, 2017

Steelers fans burn memorabilia over national anthem stance

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)
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)

By WPXI.com

PITTSBURGH —

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.

>> Read more trending news

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.

>> Related: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react

Jim Heaney, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, posted on YouTube and said, “Can't come out and stand for our anthem or flag? I'm done with you. #BoycottPittsburghSteelers #BoycottTheNFL.”

The NFL Responds to Trump’s ‘Divisive’ Remarks


Related

NASCAR owners threaten to fire those who protest during national anthem

It appeared no drivers, crew or other team members participated in a protest during the national anthem to start the NASCAR Cup series race Sunday.

>> Read more trending news

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  Photos: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday
  Donald Trump says NFL anthem protesters should be ‘off the field’ and fired
  Falcons, Lions link arms during national anthem; singer kneels after performing it
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  Is Colin Kaepernick breaking the law by not standing for the National Anthem?
  Seahawks' Pete Carroll responds to Trump's condemnation of national anthem protests
  Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during national anthem
  Trump continues railing against protesting NFL, NBA players
  Trump withdraws White House invitation to Golden State Warriors
Falcons, Lions link arms during national anthem; singer kneels after performing it

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Falcons, Lions link arms during national anthem; singer kneels after performing it

Before kickoff of the Lions and Falcons game, both teams stood linking arms on the sidelines to “celebrate (our) differences,” the announcer said before Rico LaVelle sang the national anthem. 

>> Read more trending news

Falcons owner Arthur Blank linked arms with Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman on the sidelines. Detroit Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford stood with her arms linked with the players. 

LaVelle, the Detroit-native singer, waited until the end of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” to kneel. 

One Pittsburgh Steeler stood for national anthem

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

One Pittsburgh Steeler stood for national anthem

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.

>> Read more trending news

While most of the team did sit out "The Star-Spangled Banner," one member of the Steelers was not in the locker room: left tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, was deployed to Afghanistan three times during his military career. Villanueva reached the rank of major before starting his NFL career in 2014.

Other teams around the league also participated in protests whether it was kneeling, standing and locking arms, or staying in the locker room during the national anthem. 

WWII veteran, 97, kneels in support of NFL's national anthem protests

A photo of a World War II veteran kneeling in solidarity with NFL players quickly went viral amid Sunday's national anthem protests.

>> Live updates: Trump slams players, NFL responds by taking a knee

>> PHOTOS: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday

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.

>> See the tweet here

"Those kids have every right to protest," Middlemas said, according to Gilmore's tweet.

Gilmore added: "Grandpa has been an ally to the civil rights movement for many years. He's an amazing man always on the side of justice."

>> See the tweet here

In an interview with the Springfield News-Leader, Middlemas said he wanted to promote peace.

>> Read more trending news

"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."

Read more here or here.

  Photos: NFL takes a stand on football Sunday
  Live updates: Trump slams NFL players for national anthem protests, athletes react 
 

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