PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey says the team will be on the field standing for the national anthem on Sunday.
The comments came after Alejandro Villanueva, Steelers lineman and U.S. Army veteran, was pictured standing alone during the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 24. The rest of the team remained in the tunnel.
“I promise you one thing this week — we’ll all be standing out there for the national anthem,” Pouncey said during an interview on Wednesday. “Trust me. We respect our flag and we respect the military. I think the bigger message was we were trying to stay out of it. That we should unite inside. It was all about the flag. It was just a big misunderstanding. Trust me, I’m very sorry to anyone who feels the way they do. I care about the flag dearly. Trust me, this team will be out there standing Sunday.”
Maurkice Pouncey on the team's actions this coming Sunday during the National Anthem. pic.twitter.com/9ZtPGeox6z
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 27, 2017
Players across the NFL knelt during the anthem in protest of remarks President Donald Trump made at a rally in Alabama over the weekend.
Head coach Mike Tomlin admitted the Steelers’ decision was not intended as a political statement, but to show unity to remove themselves from the entire controversy, according to WTAE.
The team heads to Baltimore to take on the Ravens on Sunday.