Last Sunday hundreds of National Football League (NFL) players (the majority of them millionaires, thanks to fans who pay their salaries) decided to disrespect the American flag and the Star Spangled Banner.
If you look on the Internet to see who the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers is, Mike Tomlin, it reads an “American” coach. So much for being an American when he and his players decided to wait inside the locker room during the “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Addressing the media after the Steelers’ overtime loss to the Chicago Bears, Mike Tomlin said: “I was looking for 100 percent participation; we were gonna be respectful of our football team.”
Tomlin was referring to the one player who went out of his way to take a patriotic stand and went to the field alone to salute the flag; that player was Alejandro Villanueva.
So the Steelers and Tomlin wanted to be respectful of the football team, so much so that they forgot the only reason they can continue playing football and collecting millions of dollars to do so; and for Tomlin to continue coaching is thanks to Villanueva, a former Army Ranger recipient of the Bronze Star and many others like him who served three tours in Afghanistan fighting for our freedom.
To stand during the Star Spangled Banner is not a political matter; it is the respect, we, as Americans owe to our flag and our national anthem.
Speaking to the media coach, Mike Tomlin said, “We are not politicians, we’re coaches and professional athletes. If those of us as individuals choose to participate in politics in some way, I’m going to be supportive of that, but when we come out of locker rooms, we come out to play football games.”
According to several news reports, Tomlin had said that before the kickoff Sunday, he held a team meeting and discussed with his players to not come out of the locker room for the playing of the national anthem. He implied that by saluting the flag, Villanueva was showing disloyalty to his teammates.
This man is not only arrogant and disrespectful, but also an instigator. The Pittsburgh Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin are the ones totally disloyal to their teammate, Alejandro Villanueva, who put his life on the line fighting for our country and all of us while they were enjoying themselves, playing only two weeks of the year and making millions. There are many mental midgets that believe all of us who criticize them are racists, but this has absolutely nothing to do with race, but respect for our country.
The Steelers were not the only ones; the Oakland Raiders (I hope they make up their minds whether they are coming to Las Vegas or will continue staying in Oakland) sat during the national anthem, while a couple of them went on one knee before their game Sunday against the Washington Redskins. By the way, they lost to the Redskins.
Also, several New England Patriots knelt on one knee during the national anthem before their game against the Houston Texans.
To all those players and coaches who for some unknown reason like to protest by going down on one knee to show disrespect for our country, our flag and our national anthem, remember: you don’t know what you have until you lose it. I cannot remember who said the following quote, but keep it in mind, “I prefer to die standing than to live forever kneeling.”
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Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at pviasmensky@lasvegas tribune.com.