One of the biggest stories to come out of the whole NFL protest debacle that unfolded over the weekend involved Pittsburgh Steelers Alejandro Villanueva being the only player on the team to come out of the locker room and stand for the National Anthem.

While many, including myself, initially hailed the man — who is a former Army Ranger with three tours in Afghanistan under his belt — as a hero for his bold standing on principle, once the coach and fellow teammates made their feelings about his actions clear, he came out and said he was embarrassed by his decision and wished he had not done it.

This was disappointing to say the least and made it seem as if he was being pressured by others on the Steelers to come out and apologize for his actions, which were totally right by the way.

Despite the disappointing change of heart Villanueva had, he’s still proving to be a class act. The day after he stood for the anthem, his jersey was the top selling one in the country. Villanueva has decided to donate the proceeds from this boom in sales to military groups.

via CBS Pittsburgh:

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Alejandro Villanueva have made headlines for what transpired during the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game in Chicago.

As a quick refresher, all of the Steelers’ players opted to stay in the tunnel for the national anthem. All of the players, except for former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, who held his hand over his heart and sang along.

Steelers fans have been divided over the team’s decision ever since, but there is a positive angle.

In the aftermath, Villanueva’s jersey became the top-seller in the league. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Villanueva is donating all proceeds of his jersey sales to non-profits that benefit the military.

It is worth noting that Villanueva has always done this.

Earlier this week, Villanueva apologized for unintentionally throwing his teammates under the bus by not standing with them in the tunnel.

“I’ve made Coach Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only,” he said. “I 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.”

“People that are taking a knee are not saying anything negative about the military, they’re not saying anything negative about the flag, they’re just trying to protest the fact that there are some injustices in America,” Villanueva said.

While I don’t agree with his apologizing for doing the right thing, I do think the donating of the money from these jerseys, combined with the fact he felt it was necessary to stand for the anthem at all, are indications of the kind of man that Villanueva is, despite caving to the demands of the mob.

Kneeling for the anthem is the ultimate sign of disrespect and contempt for military members who have sacrificed life and limb to protect our way of life and keep our citizenry safe from the outside threats that would love to see us utterly destroyed.

No one is against anyone’s right to protest, we’re simply asking for respect to be shown for troops who served. Also, a right to protest doesn’t have anything to do with obeying the regulations set forth by an organization. Free speech has to do with the government, not private companies.

Let’s hope Villanueva will regrow that backbone and stand for what is right, no matter the cost.

Follow Michael on Twitter @MCantrell0928 and on Facebook]

 

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