Tomlin: In stadium, I don't play politics - I'm there to play football

RAW: Coach Tomlin addresses national anthem controversy (PART 1)

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the team’s decision to stay in the tunnel for the national anthem Sunday during his weekly press conference.

Tomlin said the team just wanted to play the game and he wanted 100 percent participation.

"We just decided that we were gonna sit it out. We weren't gonna play politics," Tomlin said.

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He said the team is not a group that is interested in making statements, they're a group interested in making impacts.

Tomlin added he’s very proud that his team has always been a team that has been respectful of the anthem and they’ve never participated in anthem demonstrations.


Tomlin also addressed Alejandro Villanueva, who was the lone player at the end of the tunnel, hand over heart, during the national anthem. Tomlin said it’s a shame Villanueva was put in that position because he’s a team guy and has always been a team guy.

“We respect Al. We respect the things that have gone on with him,” Tomlin said.

Earlier Tuesday, Steelers president Art Rooney II addressed a letter to fans about the team’s decision.

“There was never any desire on the part of our players to show disrespect for our service members,” Rooney II said.