While many NFL players, coaches and administrators have announced they intend to turn to activism during the 2020 season, one veteran player has indicated he will not be kneeling for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt said on Twitter this week that he will stand for his country’s flag.
The 27-year-old also doesn’t care what any of his critics have to say.
In a Monday barrage of Twitter posts, the player, who is black, touched on everything from personal finance to education.
He then shared a strong sentiment about showing public respect for the country which has allowed him and his family to prosper.
“Also I’m not kneeling for the flag and screw anybody who have a problem with that,” Tuitt tweeted Monday.
Also I’m not kneeling for the flag and screw anybody who have a problem with that. My grandmother was a immigrant from the Carribean and age worked her ass off to bring 20 people over the right way. She had no money and educated herself to be a nurse. She living good now.
— stephon tuitt (@DOCnation_7) July 27, 2020
“My grandmother was a immigrant from the Carribean and age worked her a– off to bring 20 people over the right way. She had no money and educated herself to be a nurse. She living good now,” he wrote.
According to Newsweek, Tuitt is the first black NFL player to publicly distance himself from refusing to stand for the country’s flag and anthem this offseason.
In recent months, the sports world has become a magnet for divisive politics following the May death of George Floyd, whose neck was knelt on by a Minneapolis police officer for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
How the Steelers will approach activism for the 2020 season has been a topic of conversation.
Team captain and defensive tackle Cameron Heyward said last month that the team will protest perceived systemic racial bias in unison.
“I think we want to stay united in what we do and what we want to accomplish,” Heyward told reporters, according to Sports Illustrated.
“Coach [Mike Tomlin] always told me that if we win a Super Bowl, that’s not enough for the city of Pittsburgh. We want to leave a lasting change on our community as well.”
“We’re living in a climate where guys need to know they have a platform and they should be able to voice their opinion,” Heyward added.
“It’s not for one guy to decide. It’s not for two guys to decide. It’s a team that has its own interests at heart,” he said.
While Heyward would like to see him and his teammates remain on the same page with regard to using their platform for social justice activism, it appears the team will have to take Tuitt’s lead if they wish to remain together on the issue.
Tuitt’s strong words leave little doubt about his flexibility on kneeling for the American flag.
The Pittsburgh Steelers might be the only NFL team which decides to stand and honor the country, if Heyward and others are serious about remaining unified.
Tuitt appeared in six games during the 2019 season, accumulating 3.5 sacks and 18 solo tackles.
The 2020 season will be his seventh with the franchise.
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