As the topic of players kneeling during the National Anthem rages on, one player, a former Army Ranger, sent a clear message on where he stands on the subject. Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva was the lone player on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ team to come out of the locker room and stand for the anthem.
Early Sunday morning, Steelers’ executives made the decision that the team would not come out of the locker room until after the National Anthem. The move was met with many questions. Are we taking this too far? Did President Trump’s remarks make this a larger issue? Will the Steelers’ organization be punished for their decision?
All of these questions will surely be answered sooner or later, but one thing is clear for fans around the league — Villanueva will stand for the National Anthem. How could he not as a previous military member who wants to honor his brothers who gave their lives for this country?
As the National Anthem began to ring throughout the stadium, the Steelers’ sideline was empty. Their opponent, the Chicago Bears, were seen with their arms locked, standing in solidarity.
The camera panned over to former Ranger Villanueva, who is seen holding his helmet to his side with his hand over his heart near entrance to the team’s tunnel.
According to the Daily Caller, Villanueva played his collegiate career at West Point Military Academy before he became part of the elite Army Rangers.
This touching moment of patriotism did not go unnoticed on Twitter.
While many enjoyed seeing a player respect the flag and all it stands for, some Twitter users questioned if this will begin to divide players on the team.
A man among children.
He was doing as he felt he should—as were his fellow team members, who made a conscious decision not to play Trump’s game. The anthem and flag are not Donald Trump’s political property or political props.
@Greg: Indeed. Making one’s self a stupid useful idiot is NOT Trump’s game… nor that of any of his supporters.
@Greg: #2 Perfect , America runs deeper than todays political winds. So proves the Lone Ranger.
As some Steelers former fans burn their gear the sales of The Lone Rangers jerseys skyrocket.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin DEMANDED his team participate in the protest 100% “to show unity”. Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva put his dedication and love for his country above his “unity” with a protest based on lies, something NO football player… or anyone else… should be asked to do. Now, HE is the outcast, the pariah. Right becomes wrong, despicable becomes honorable. This is the contribution of the left to a sports diversion from everyday life.