Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he regrets his team did not go out into the field during the national anthem on Sunday and was unable to sleep because of that decision, Young Conservatives reports.
On Monday, the Super Bowl winning quarterback explained on his website that the decision not to show up was in fact not a protest but rather a way to make the team appear united.
All players on the Steelers roster, except for offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army ranger, remained in the tunnel during the song in response to the criticism by President Donald Trump of NFL players taking a knee in protest.
“I was unable to sleep last night and want to share my thoughts and feelings on our team’s decision to remain in the tunnel for the National Anthem yesterday,” Roethlisberger said.
“As a team, it was not a protest of the flag or the Anthem. I personally don’t believe the Anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest,” he added.
Roethlisberger says he regrets not going down where Villanueva was standing, as he estimates the other Steelers were about 20 feet behind. “There was no division there… It was just the way it appeared through pictures,” he said.