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Steelers OL, Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva explains anthem decision

Steelers OL, Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva explains anthem decision”

Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva produced one of the most memorable scenes on an uncommon Sunday in the NFL by being the lone player for the Pittsburgh Steelers to emerge from the tunnel at Soldier Field in Chicago during the national anthem.

Villanueva, an offensive lineman for the Steelers, was the team's only player to come on to the field while the "Star Spangled Banner" played before Pittsburgh's game against Chicago.

Villanueva - a former Army Ranger and graduate of West Point - had the top-selling merchandise among any National Football League player on Fanatics.com and NFLShop.com in the 24 hours after kickoff of the Steelers-Chicago Bears game, Fanatics vice president of communications Meier Raivich confirmed to USA TODAY Sports in an email. Villanueva was inked to a four-year contract by the Steelers in July. I've made my teammates look bad and that is my fault and my fault only and I've made the Steelers also look bad and that is my fault and my fault only. Villanueva said Monday that he threw his teammates "under the bus unintentionally".

In the photo below, that's Villanueva's leg, so you can see how close he was to his teammates. Tomlin wanted unity in the response and when the team couldn't come to a decision, they resolved to stay in the locker room. "Many of them were not going to accept the words of the President, so we chose to not take the field".

Villanueva said he only discussed walking to the tunnel with quarterback and captain Ben Roethlisberger and so many of his teammates weren't aware of what he was planning.

"He never wants to be the center of attention", said Heyward about Villanueva not wanting to stand alone on the field.

He said head coach Mike Tomlin told the players to come to a unified decision about what they would do during the anthem. He said he made his teammates, coaches and the team's owners look bad. "We will plan to be on the field this week in Baltimore".

"I just couldn't stand by the sidelines and watch other people do the work", he said. Many others locked arms in a show of unity - all brought on by comments over the weekend by President Donald Trump criticizing National Football League players, saying that the ones who kneel should be fired.

He continued, "The best way to do it was to just stand during the National Anthem and then maybe over social media express their other feelings towards it rather than the way they did".

"I don't want to go into that, but we support our guy Al".

"It's hard. It's a very divisive thing right now, and I think everyone understands both sides".



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