Yesterday it was reported that Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Alejandro Villanueva was the only player from his team to stick to his principles and actually come out of the locker room and stand for the National Anthem.
Well, it appears now that he’s somewhat changing his tune a bit and might even regret doing the right thing and standing boldly for his country.
What might prompt such a reversal, especially from a war hero who served three tours in Afghanistan and earned the Bronze Star of Valor?
That’s anyone’s guess, but his coach, Mike Tomlin, and many other players were none too happy with the man for not sticking to the pre-approved plan and sitting in the locker room. Could they have shamed him or found some way to pressure him into apologizing or casting doubts on his decision?
Via Yahoo News:
The image of Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva standing alone for the national anthem became one of the most memorable of a Sunday full of NFL demonstrations.
It was also unintended.
Villanueva, a former Army Ranger whose jersey sales skyrocketed after fans saw images of him standing for the anthem at the front of the tunnel alone while his teammates were out of view, said he didn’t mean to be by himself during the anthem. He regretted it happened and said he didn’t mean to make his coach Mike Tomlin or his teammates, who agreed to not go on the field for the anthem as a sign of team unity, look bad.
“Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself, I feel embarrassed,” Villanueva said, according to the Twitter feed of Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
How teams are dealing with the national anthem protests and demonstrations is a tough situation to navigate. Not all 53 players on a roster have the same beliefs or political leanings, and not all of them will unanimously agree about what’s right or wrong during the national anthem. A well-run team like the Steelers tried to figure out a solution by staying off the field. They came to that decision as a team in a 15-minute players-only meeting on Saturday night, PennLive.com reported. It ended up with one player who has three tours of duty in Afghanistan standing by himself and unwittingly becoming a symbol for those who disagree with the protests.
“Unfortunately I threw my teammates under the bus, unintentionally,” Villanueva said, according to KDKA-TV.
“We as a team tried to figure it out, obviously we butchered it, I’m not gonna pretend I have some kind of righteous voice.”
“I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault only,” Villanueva said, according to KDKA. “We as a team tried to figure it out, but obviously butchered it.
“For anybody who thinks coach Tomlin is not as patriotic as you can get in America, I’m offended by that,” Villanueva said. “I made coach Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault, and my fault only.”
Yeah, something definitely smells a little fishy here, and it seems likely to me that someone put the screws to him, though, obviously, we can’t know that for sure.
No one should be forced to go along with a “plan” that offends their personally held beliefs and principles. Nor should they be required to apologize for standing up for what they believe in, even if it means they are the only one brave enough to do it.
Coach Tomlin and many of the other players on the Steelers team ought to be truly ashamed of themselves for pr
- essuring this man into abandoning his position on this issue. That is something truly disgusting.