Over the past couple months, NFL players have made headlines for kneeling during the national anthem. The protests only escalated when President Donald Trump criticized those who chose to disrespect the flag. Hundreds of players then responded by protesting the following Sunday. As a result, thousands of fans have boycotted the league, and ratings have crashed dramatically.
But on Monday, a group of players knelt on the field for a different reason. The Pittsburgh Steelers faced off against the Cincinnati Bengals in a hard-nosed game that ended in a Steelers' 23-20 win. However, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier collided with Cincinnati Bengals receiver Josh Malone, resulting in a scary injury for Shazier.
Shazier, who immediately clutched at his back, was carted off the field with no movement in his legs.
When the game came to an end, players, including Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, gathered on the field to take a knee and pray for Shazier's safety and recovery.
Not a Bengals fan, but respect to Andy Dalton for staying on the field after he lost to pray for Steelers player Ryan Shazier with the other Steelers players. This guy loses and actually stays on the field to pray for an injured player. Wow. pic.twitter.com/u4xwBSHcUA
— Jeff Kelly (@jeffkelzokelly) December 5, 2017
CLASS ACT: Andy Dalton stays to pray for Ryan Shazier with the Pittsburgh Steelers after losing the game. Shazier was carted off the field after sustaining a back injury during the game. pic.twitter.com/l2PPoDiZ0t
— Lauren Talotta (@LaurenWBOY) December 5, 2017
Among the players who prayed was Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who was famously the only player to show up on the field and stand for the national anthem while the rest of his team stayed in the tunnel in September.
— Banastre Tarleton (@Tarleton_exe) September 24, 2017
The Steelers remained inside, but LT and army vet Alejandro Villanueva stood alone outside of the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/vMyElAajCp
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) September 24, 2017
Shortly after the game ended, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert stated Shazier had gotten a CT scan and an MRI, but he did not need surgery as of that time. Shazier is now receiving treatment for a spinal injury at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facility.