Homeowner paints swastika on Pittsburgh Steelers flag

Homeowner takes down Steelers flag with swastika painted on it

WEST DEER, Pa. — A deeply hateful message is dividing a local neighborhood after a swastika was painted over a Steelers flag.

The latest expression of anger is over the team's national anthem decision.

People living in West Deer contacted Channel 11 News because they were too upset to confront the man who painted it.

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The homeowner told Channel 11 News that the team's decision was an insult to veterans like himself and he wants more than just a statement from the team's owner.

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"I'm upset the Rooneys didn't want to participate in the national anthem so to me, they're anti-American," Anton Uhl said.

That's why he painted a swastika on his Steelers flag in West Deer. Not because he supports Nazis, but because he wanted to show he feels the Steelers are unpatriotic.

"There's a lot of kids that want to play football, you don't need to pay millions of dollars for these people to stand in some type of, kneeling down, giving disrespect for everything," Uhl said.

Uhl told Channel 11 News he's an Army veteran and staying off the field for the national anthem was unacceptable to him.

He said he doesn't blame the team as much as he blames the team's owner.

"If they want to demonstrate, they have every right to do that. Out of uniform in a public forum, not in a uniform representing the Rooneys," Uhl said. "My choice, I find it was upsetting not to have patriotic participation."

"He has a right to do that, just like anybody else," Bartkowski said.

In a statement to Channel 11 News on Wednesday, Uhl said the following:
"I want to tell your viewers that I was wrong in placing a Swastika on the Steeler's Flag. The Flag has been removed. I'm not apologizing but should not have singled out just the Steelers. The Swastika, a symbol of Hate, should be worn by all the NFL players who do not stand for our Nation's Flag and Anthem. If the players and owners want to demonstrate against President Trump and the disparity against races, then they should unite in uniform and march on Washington."

The perceived lack of respect by the Steelers is spreading across our area with some fans burning jerseys after Sunday's game.

Now a Somerset County hotel and pub has posted on Facebook they will not show any more NFL games and are taking down all the merchandise in their facility.

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The Steelers team president said in a statement Tuesday there was never a desire to show disrespect to service members and just wanted to stay out of the business of making political statements.