The protesting of racial, social, and economic inequality and police brutality in the U.S. continues to weigh on a scale of those who agree with protesting and those on the opposing end. This past weekend, various NFL personnel took a knee or locked arms while the national anthem played. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, under the leadership of their head coach Mike Tomlin, they decided to remain in the locker room instead of appearing on the field.
That gesture didn’t sit well with the city’s Cecil Township fire chief, Paul Smith, who thought it was wise to call Tomlin a racial slur. Per Raw Story, Smith published a Facebook post that stated Tomlin “just added himself to the list of no-good ni**ers.” He took pride in his comments, adding, “Yes, I said it.”
Once his remarks made its way across the Internet, Smith retracted his statement, admitting, “I am embarrassed at this. I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing [for] the anthem. This had nothing to do with my Fire Department. I regret what I said.”
On Sunday (Sept. 24), Tomlin explained the team’s decision and said the Steelers’ mission in 2017 is not “to play politics.”
“These are very divisive times for our country. For us, as a football team, it’s about us remaining solid. We’re not going to be divided by anything said by anyone,” he said. “That’s the thing that I posted to our guys, that if you feel the need to do anything, I’m going to be supportive of that. As Americans, you have that right. But whatever we do, we’re going to do 100 percent. We’re going to do it together.”
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 24, 2017