Sport

Steelers' Alejandro Villanueva has highest-selling gear in past 24 hours

Steelers' Alejandro Villanueva has highest-selling gear in past 24 hours”

When the national anthem started at Soldier Field, the visiting sideline was mostly empty.

It was one unusual day for one of the NFL's most revered franchises.

Villanueva said he would support any teammates who chose to sit or kneel during the national anthem and that other players who have knelt during the anthem have thanked him for his service. Dozens of NFL players across the league opted to kneel during the national anthem after President Donald Trump said players should be fired by the NFL for kneeling. A handful of National Football League players have refused to stand during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest several issues, including police brutality.

Alejandro Villanueva told reporters Monday that his standing alone on the field for the national anthem before the Steelers-Bears game Sunday was a mix up, and he's "embarrassed" for it. At the meeting, Villanueva asked Roethlisberger if he could stand up front with the team captains and Big Ben agreed that the request made sense. "We felt the best thing that everyone was on board with was standing in the tunnel during the anthem". A decision that was observed and followed by the whole team, except for Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva. Villanueva, a former U.S. Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, was hailed by many fans as a hero.

As a result of Villanueva's actions, his No. 78 was the top-selling jersey of any other player in the last 24 hours, ESPN reported Monday.

Villanueva was not made available to the media as of late Monday afternoon, and he wasn't visible in the locker room after Sunday's game.

"There was a flag that was coming in from the previous celebrations and when I turned around to sort of signal everybody else to come so they wouldn't leave me alone that's when they were essentially unable to exit", he said. He also apologized to coach Mike Tomlin and the rest of the team. "It's a shame, but it is, but we are not politicians, we're coaches and professional athletes". "If those of us or individuals choose to participate in politics in some way I'm going to be supportive of that".

"We were gonna be respectful of our football team", he explained.

Tomlin called Commissioner Roger Goodell on Sunday morning and told him of the team's decision. Roethlisberger estimates players were about 20 feet behind Villanueva.

"This is in no way shape or form a protest of the national anthem", Roethlisberger said.



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