ESPN.com's Darren Rovell shared Roethlisberger's comments:
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger says he regrets standing in tunnel with team for national anthem https://t.co/4hkoC8o7o12017-9-25 19:44:28
Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours of duty with the United States Army in Afghanistan, was the only member of the team who stood outside the tunnel for the anthem.
Jacob Klinger of PennLive.com reported the Steelers held a vote over what to do during the anthem, and standing in the tunnel won by a "narrow majority." Steelers offensive guard Ramon Foster said Villanueva's teammates supported his choice to stand separate from the rest of the team, but James Harrison offered a different sentiment.
"We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously," the Steelers linebacker said. "But, I guess we weren't."
"People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t have to 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. So we’re not participating today. That’s our decision. We’re going to be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game. That’s our intent."
Many teams throughout the NFL demonstrated during the anthem before Sunday's games, whether by symbolically locking arms in a sign of unity, deciding to kneel or declining to appear for "The Star-Spangled Banner" altogether.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement last season to protest against police brutality and social injustice, and players became more outspoken after critical comments by President Donald Trump.
On Friday, Trump said at a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should "get that son of a b---h off the field right now" when a player refuses to stand for the anthem, and he doubled down on that stance in a pair of tweets Saturday.