Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was unable to sleep Sunday night after he and most of his teammates skipped the National Anthem before their game Sunday.
Roethlisberger released a statement on his website that weighed in on the National Anthem controversy, which led to more than 200 players taking a knee at Sunday's games.
"I was unable to sleep last night and want to share my thoughts and feelings on our team's decision to remain in the tunnel for the National Anthem [Sunday]," Roethlisberger said. "The idea was to be unified as a team when so much attention is paid to things dividing our country, but I wish we approached it differently. We did not want to appear divided on the sideline with some standing and some kneeling or sitting."
One Steelers player, Alejandro Villanueva, stood alone at the top of the tunnel during the Anthem and placed his hand over his heart. He is a former Army Ranger and served three tours in Afghanistan.
Villanueva said Monday he was "embarrassed" over what he saw as taking a shot at his teammates.
Roethlisberger noted it is not appropriate to protest the National Anthem.
"As a team, it was not a protest of the flag or the anthem," he said. "I personally don't believe the anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest. For me, and many others on my team and around the league, it is a tribute to those who commit to serve and protect our country, current and past, especially the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice."
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