Plenty of players are expected to kneel during the national anthem in the upcoming football season, but Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt won’t be one of them. Tuitt announced Monday that he doesn’t plan to join in the protests before the start of NFL games.

“Also I’m not kneeling for the flag and screw anybody who have a problem with that,” Tuitt said on Twitter. 

Tuitt received mixed reactions on social media with his tweet generating 56,000 likes and more than 12,000 retweets in 24 hours. While plenty of people expressed their support for Tuitt’s decision, others were confused by Tuitt’s explanation since players kneel during the anthem to protest police brutality.

Tuitt hasn’t received the same kind of backlash that was directed toward Drew Brees earlier this offseason. The New Orleans Saints quarterback said that kneeling was “disrespecting the flag of the United States of America,” comments he later apologized for.

A few of Brees’ teammates expressed their frustration with the quarterback’s comments at the time. None of Tuitt’s teammates have yet to publicly comment on his tweet.

“We've spent a lot of group time talking about the ongoing issues, talking about the platform that they have and how to best utilize it and how to do so thoughtfully," Steelers head coach Tomlin told reporters last month. “Our position is simple: We're going to support our players and their willingness to participate in this – whether it's statements or actions.

“You guys know my feelings, I've stated it in the past: Statements are good, but impact is better – particularly long-term impact. Those that have a desire to participate in a positive way, they're going to be supported by us.”

The protests during the national anthem, which were started by former San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick quarterback in 2016, have spread to other sports. Several baseball players across the league knelt during the anthem on the opening weekend of the MLB season.

Stephon Tuitt Pittsburgh Steelers Stephon Tuitt #91 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on September 30, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)