Three NFL teams remained in their locker rooms Sunday as the national anthem played, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks.
As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.
As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be misconstrued as unpatriotic.
Thechose not to for the anthem earlier in the day, as head coach Mike Tomlin wanted to "shield his players from having to decide between protesting or standing for the anthem."
"We're not going to play politics," Tomlin said. "We're football players, we're football coaches. We're not participating in the anthem today -- not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance.
"People shouldn't have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn't be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn't be separated from his teammate who chooses not to."
However, Left tackle, an Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, was seen on the CBS broadcast at the edge of the tunnel during the anthem, hand over heart.
The actions come after President Donald TrumpNFL owners to fire any " " that protests during the national anthem.
Seahawks head coach Pete CarrollTrump's comments, stating "it's time to take a stand."
Teams that are not on the field for the anthem are typically subject to fines, but the Seahawks, Titans, and Steelers reportedly won't be, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Trump also weighed in on the topic of Sunday, even complimenting those who linked arms, but still calling for the NFL to "change their policy."