Steelers gamers put on ‘Free Pouncey’ shirts, criticize Kitchens


Two days after a photograph of Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens sporting a brown T-shirt with the phrase “Pittsburgh began it” emblazoned in orange made the rounds on social media, some Pittsburgh Steelers gamers confirmed up for Sunday’s sport with a message of their very own.

Dec 1, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens seems to be on from the sidelines in opposition to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the course of the second quarter at Heinz Area. The Steelers received 20-13. Obligatory Credit score: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports activities

Defensive sort out and workforce captain Cameron Heyward was amongst gamers sporting a “Free Pouncey” shirt as they headed into Heinz Area on Sunday morning.

Each shirts are referencing the struggle between the groups on Nov. 14 that resulted in an indefinite suspension for Browns defensive finish Myles Garrett. Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey was suspended three video games — later decreased to 2 on attraction — for his half within the brawl.

Whereas some Steelers gamers sporting the shirt opted to cowl their faces with hoodies or masks, Heyward made no effort to masks his id.

After the sport, which the Steelers received 20-14, Pittsburgh gamers had pointed criticism for Kitchens and his choice to put on the shirt.

“I do know that our coach by no means would have performed something like that,” left guard Ramon Foster mentioned, per ESPN. “Why throw gasoline? While you do one thing like that, you throw your gamers in hurt’s manner. He’s not on the sphere. You throw your gamers in hurt’s manner whenever you do stuff like that with a vengeance. And I hate that for them.”

Proper guard David DeCastro mentioned it was “fairly silly” of Kitchens to put on the shirt.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that a Browns spokesperson mentioned Kitchens’ youngsters gave him the shirt “as a joke.” He wore it when he joined his household in seeing the Mister Rogers biopic, “A Stunning Day within the Neighborhood.” Whereas he wore a jacket over the shirt, his jacket was unzipped far sufficient for moviegoers to see the shirt. Friday was Kitchens’ 45th birthday.

The Browns instructed Schefter that Kitchens hadn’t deliberate for it to be seen and “understands it’s not look.”

Requested after the sport about sporting the shirt, Kitchens mentioned he’d accomplish that once more.

“I wore a T-shirt,” Kitchens instructed reporters. “I wore a jacket with it. My daughters needed me to put on the shirt. I’d put on it once more. I placed on a jacket, I coated it up, I took an image, that was easy as that. A T-shirt didn’t trigger us to surrender 40-yard passes. We have been able to play. That’s the one factor folks must be involved about. We have been able to play.”

Fred Rogers, the topic of the film, was a beloved resident of Pittsburgh, and a Steelers supply instructed Schefter that Kitchens’ alternative of attire may very well be seen as one other act of disrespect towards the town.

The struggle between the groups broke out on the finish of the sport, and Garrett ripped the helmet off the pinnacle of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and swung it at him. In all, 33 gamers and each groups have been fined a complete of $732,422.

—Area Stage Media