As sports begin re-emerging from a months-long hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic, one NFL player is making one thing abundantly clear: he will stand for the national anthem.
Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Stephon Tuitt posted a blunt tweet Monday, writing, “I’m not kneeling for the flag and screw anybody who have a problem with that.”
“My grandmother was a immigrant from the Caribbean and she worked her [expletive] off to bring 20 people over the right way,” he continued. “She had no money and educated herself to be a nurse. She living good now.”
The Steelers have a history with protests during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In 2017, offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a U.S. Army veteran, gained widespread attention when he was the sole athlete on his team to stand for the national anthem while his teammates stayed in the tunnel. Ultimately, Villanueva kowtowed to his detractors, saying he made a mistake that “threw his teammates under the bus unintentionally.”
After the incident, he said he was “embarrassed” to have stood alone during the performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Tuitt’s bold declaration also comes not long after New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees admitted he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”
“I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regard to fighting for racial equality and justice,” Brees told Yahoo Finance earlier this summer. “I also stand with my grandfathers, who risked their lives for this country, and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”
Brees has since apologized twice for voicing support for the national anthem. he said his support for the anthem was “insensitive” and it “breaks my heart” to know his words caused “pain.”