When the NFL season begins, you can expect significant Colin Kaepernick-style kneeling protests ahead of games. One Pittsburgh Steelers football player won’t be participating though: defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt.
Tuitt, a Georgia native, is entering his seventh season with the Steelers. The former Notre Dame All-American was a second-round pick in 2014. On Monday morning, he shared his decision, and the reason why he will stand during the national anthem.
After some tweets about financial issues among NFL players, Tuitt gave some background about his family. “Also I’m not kneeling for the flag and screw anybody who have a problem with that,” he said. “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,” Tuitt added. “She living good now.”
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
Like they did back when Kaepernick’s protests peaked a few years ago, NFL teams are handling things in different ways. Some may opt to demonstrate as a full group, while others, the Pittsburgh Steelers included, are respecting their players’ freedom to decide how they want to handle things for themselves.
“Our position is simple: We’re going to support our players and their willingness to participate in this, whether it’s statements or actions,” head coach Mike Tomlin said last month, per ProFootballTalk.
That is probably the right approach. Stephon Tuitt certainly shouldn’t feel the need to take a knee if he doesn’t want to, the same way that his Steelers teammates should feel free to demonstrate however they see fit during games.
The Steelers are set to open their season on Sept. 14 at the New York Giants.