A team official confirmed the news, which was first reported by CBS’ Jamie Erdahl, who spoke to coach Mike Tomlin pregame.
“We’re not going to play politics,” Tomlin told Erdahl. “We’re football players, we’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today — not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance.
“People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to.”
The Steelers did not protest the anthem last year and had stayed relatively neutral on the national discussion, but President Donald Trump’s verbal attack on NFL players appears to have changed things.
Team president Art Rooney II said in a statement that he supported the NFL’s statement on the matter but had nothing to add.