Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin disagreed with Alejandro Villanueva's decision to come out of the tunnel to stand during the national anthem while all the other players and coaching staff were reportedly in the locker room. However, some photos show them just under the tunnel area, some with their hands on their hearts, but mostly out of public view.
When questioned about Villanueva’s choice to emerge from the tunnel Tomlin said, “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation. We were going to be respectful of our football team.”
Tomlin viewed the decision not to emerge from the tunnel as indicative of not taking a political stance. He stressed his support of whatever decision the players would make, but he also hinted he was not happy of President Trump’s views towards the NFL on the matter of letting players kneel during the anthem.
Also, Tomlin said the team’s decision and the actions they planned to take regarding being off the field during the anthem was known by the NFL’s highest echelon.
“We didn’t keep secrets. I called the [NFL] commissioner this morning and told him our intentions,” added Tomlin, indicating the wider conflict that includes NFL management and the issue of player protests.
President Trump sent a series of tweets recently on the growing issue of pro football players taking a knee during the anthem, and if that merits disciplinary action.