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Lone Steelers player to stand for anthem now has NFL's best-selling jersey

Lone Steelers player to stand for anthem now has NFL's best-selling jerseyā€¯

They were one of three teams to sit out the anthem after President Trump said National Football League owners should fire players joining the protest.

However, the incident seemed to confuse some teammates, who believed the team had all agreed to stand in the tunnel together. "I was looking for 100 percent participation", Tomlin said.

Villanueva insists he was not, that saluting the colors had everything to do with miscommunication and nothing to do with him setting himself apart from the organization, the coaches or the players who have helped craft his improbable success story.

On Monday, Villanueva apologized for the incident and explained what happened.

"This national-anthem ordeal has been out of control, and there's a lot of blame on myself", lineman Alejandro Villanueva said Monday.

Villanueva confirmed statements made by Roethlisberger and defensive lineman Cam Heyward earlier in the day that they wanted to stand with him to support him but they were blocked by people going through the tunnel until the anthem began. Roethlisberger said the team will be on the field for the anthem before their next game Sunday in Baltimore. However, Villanueva apparently walked too far out of the tunnel.

Villanueva also took a moment to defend his coach, Mike Tomlin, who came under fire for being critical of Villanueva in a post-game press conference.

"That's completely wrong, and every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself, I feel embarrassed to a degree because unintentionally I left my teammates behind", he said. Villanueva said he understands why teammates would be frustrated with him. But some men, some women sign up for this tough challenge and they have to do it for the flag. "I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault". Athletes protesting during the national anthem began a year ago with former Forty-Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"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", he said.



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