The team officials claim that since the team as a whole could not decide what to do the decision was to remain in the locker room during the singing of the National Anthem. What a shame. That decision speaks for itself. Where are the leaders of the team and the organization at a time like this? Respect for our country, respect for the flag are foundations of the American way of life. Many people have fought to protect our freedoms; many have sacrificed their lives. The United States of America proudly stands as a country that protects democracy and freedom around the world – we have history to back us up. We are not perfect but our country stands as a beacon of hope, freedom and justice for all nations in the world. If someone wants to take a knee during the national anthem then stand in public and do what freedom allows you to do – but don’t hide in the locker room. Let us see your disrespect for our flag and our country and allow us in our freedom to respond to this display of anti-patriotic behavior. The fans deserve to know where the players stand. Our tax dollars have helped to build the stadiums and fan support keeps teams financially stable. We have a vested interest in where players stand and we have a right to know. The NFL has put in place many rules about what a player can wear and what they are allowed to and not to do and players are penalized when they step out of bounds. But now team leaders insist that they cannot regulate a players response to the national anthem because of freedom of speech; that is a ludricrous argument because as owners and employers they can set the standards for what is expected of any player on their team. I for one want to know where the players stand – are they in solidarity with their country or are they not? I was proud to see Alejandro Villanueva – a US Army veteran and Bronze Star recipient – not hiding in the locker room with his teammates but standing proudly in the stadium, respecting our flag and showing his patriotism for the greatest country in the world. That all of the other players choose to remain in the locker room in a show of mock solidarity did nothing but denigrate our country. I turned off the television when they took the field on Sunday and its unlikely I will turn it on anytime soon. It’s a sad day for NFL football, a sad day for football fans, a sad day for Pittsburgh, and a sad day for our country. Interestingly another Pittsburgh sports franchise, the Stanley Cup champions, took another approach. The Penguins said they will indeed go ahead with the customary White House visit. The Penguins said that they as a team will “respect the institution of the office of the president and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House. Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways,” the Penguins said. GO PENS!