Cornerback Steven Nelson says the Pittsburgh Steelers will be united prior to Monday night’s kickoff against the New York Giants. In a Zoom call, Nelson was asked what the teams plans were during the anthem and before the 7:15 start of the game. Nelson didn’t go into details of what the team will do but said the group will do it together.
“We’ll come out together as one unit and express our beliefs in that aspect,” Nelson said. “You will see that Monday. We’re all together. Unity.”
In The Thursday NFL opener, Texans and Chiefs players came to midfield after the National Anthem to link arm-in-arm. Players and the league have been more vocal than ever about finding racial equality and the Steelers, to some degree, will carry that torch before kicking off versus the Giants.
Wide receiver James Washington echoed a similar sentiment as Nelson.
“We have a group of guys who discuss things,” Washington said via the team website. “Then, we get together as a group once we’ve discussed this. We have a deal in place. It will be shown Monday night.”
In 2017, the Steelers were part of an anthem controversy when only Alejandro Villanueva appeared for the anthem before a game against the Chicago Bears. Steelers’ players said team leaders and captains were meant to stand next to him but miscommunication led to them standing in the tunnel as the anthem played. On Thursday, Chiefs players were on the field for the anthem while Texans’ players remained in the locker room. It’s unclear what the Steelers’ plans are. But they haven’t been quiet about the issues facing America either. Multiple players have spoken out on social media, in interviews, and Mike Tomlin gave a speech on the issue before one training camp practice.
“We realize we’re privileged to have a platform,” he said in late August. “We’re committed to taking action and being part of the solution to face social injustice and prejudice that we all face not only in our country but worldwide. It’s our desire to be active participants in the formation of a more perfect union. That being said, we realize recent events are the continual reminder how far we are from that.”
That night, Steelers’ players stood linked together before walking to midfield to kneel in prayer.