September 25, 2017
National Anthem Protests Expand in the NFL, But One Steeler Stands Up
The NFL is not happy with President Trump’s remarks concerning NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem. According to the Associated Press, on Sunday across the NFL over 200 players refused to stand for the National Anthem or were no shows, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, when it was sung. However, one former Army Ranger, now a Steeler, did show respect for the flag and the country he served. Steeler Coach Mike Tomlin was disappointed that Alejandro Villanueva did not remain in the locker room with the rest of the team as the National Anthem was played saying, “I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team.” The team had voted, although not unanimously, to stay in the locker room, but the former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan and earned several medals including the Bronze Star would have none of it. FYI – NFL policy requires teams that don’t respect the flag to be fined for doing so -but don’t expect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to fine any teams!
How have Americans reacted to his decision to stand for the National Anthem? Villanueva’s No. 78 jersey was outselling big names on the NFL Shop and was the top seller across all of its sports platforms.
During news conferences Monday Villanueva said he made Coach Tomlin and the Steelers look bad, that he’d thrown them under the bus. Is this in response to push back from some Steelers players and/or the coach? Coach Tomlin said he did not want the actions of the Steelers to appear political, but when you stay in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem specifically in response to remarks by a sitting President how else is it supposed to appear?
Thank Alejandro Villanueva for his service to our country and for him honoring the flag and the US by standing for the National Anthem on Sunday.
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You can send snail mail here:
Attn: Alejandro Villanueva
3400 South Water Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Steelers’ Twitter handle @steelers