PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh Steelers fans are taking to social media to show how upset they are that the team stayed inside during the national anthem.
Fans have posted numerous videos on social media of themselves burning their Steelers gear.
"I'm a lifelong Steelers fan, not anymore. Not a fan of you, the NFL, any of it," says Jim Heaney on YouTube.
Heaney posted the video of himself setting all of his Steelers gear on fire following the team's decision to decide to stay inside the locker room/tunnel during the national anthem.
"And I hope all your ignorance burns too," Heaney says as he throws his Steelers gear on the fire.
Heaney ends his video by saying, "there you go, goodbye Pittsburgh Steelers, burn in hell, Semper Fi."
In another video posted to YouTube, Robert Williams of Texas posted a video of himself burning hundreds of dollars in Steelers gear.
"We have morals in this country. We stand for this country. My great uncle's bones are lying in the bottom of Pearl Harbor. For this country, for the flag, for your freedom to play in the NFL and to say whatever you want to say. But you do not disrespect the flag and the country and the Constitution. So watch this stuff burn," Williams says.
In a video posted to Twitter, and shared more than 15,000 times, Arvin Gibbs is seen on video burning a Steelers sweatshirt and hat, while holding an American flag.
"Super Bowl right? As if I care, what I care about is this country, what I care about is freedom, and it's all about those stars and stripes," Williams says.
"Never again will waste one minute of my life following the NFL or the Pittsburgh Steelers," another YouTube video user says.
"I am no longer am a Steelers fan or of anyone that will not stand for our anthem no matter your political views or color of your skin. I hope your sport goes up in flames like my shirt did," says Christos Kallas.
"Today after 30 years of loving the Pittsburgh Steelers I'm going burn my Steelers jersey . They have taken a great American sport that people use to forget there problems with and turned it into a political circus that disrespects our Country and our Military that gave there lives for your freedom," posted YouTube user Michael Hesson.
The protest was also the main topic of discussion on 93-7 The Fan Monday morning.
"They announced that the Steelers previously weren't going to come on the field for the national anthem. When they came on the field, the whole bar booed, the whole single bar," said one caller. "I actually got up and left I was so upset."
Head coach Mike Tomlin, who stood on the sideline without his team, said the team made the decision during a meeting on Saturday.
Lisa Washington's Report:
Some fans believe the Steelers' organization will suffer because of the action.
"I don't think the Steelers are going take a long-term hit," said another caller. "I think it will be temporary hit, maybe the next couple of games. I think people will talk about it, but if they start winning, if they start producing, it will blow over, because as we know in this country, winning cures all."
Some fans said they supported Alejandro Villanueva, Steelers offensive tackle and a former U.S. Army Ranger. He stood near the tunnel Sunday during the National Anthem, with his hand over his heart. His teammates stood behind him.
"Al Villanueva, he knows the real meaning of teamwork because he led men in combat," said one caller. "He's probably saying to himself, what am I doing with this group of people?"
Another caller noted, "This protest is not about black and white. It's not about disrespecting the flag. And whether you agree or not, as a veteran of 17 years and two branches of the U.S. Military, I support what the players want to do."
Lynne Hayes-Freeland's report:
A few others, however, felt that the protests were starting to overshadow the core issue.
"There are some issues that fundamentally need to be addressed," DeWitt Walton, of the Hill District, said. "That there is racism. That there is injustice."
"Think about Muhammad Ali, Jesse Owens, the Negro Baseball League, and all of those things. They made those issues political as well, so I don't buy that," Dewayne Fulton, of Plum, said. "Again, the platforms that are given to you, if you have the power to make change in a positive way, you should use them."
Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats tells the "KDKA Morning News" he and his wife will gladly collect unwanted Steelers merchandise and give it to veterans that want it.
"We've never had an issue with veterans and the numerous veterans that I've talked to all agree with us and they understand what the whole purpose of Sunday was... So, we're like hey if you guys feel that strong about what we did and you truly feel you can't be a Steeler fan anymore...go ahead, send us your stuff, we'll go ahead and distribute to people who really want to be Steeler fans and who may not be able to afford some of the new gear and we'll gladly pass it on to them," said Moats.
Moats says that the Steelers would never do anything to disrespect veterans.
"Our thing going forward is how a person can still make these reactions and comments that we're...anti-military when it's been spoken [about] from one of our veterans, one of our veterans who is a teammate?"
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