by Jason DeWitt | Top Right News
Hundreds of NFL players planned to kneel during America’s national anthem — continuing the protest sparked last season by former 49er Colin Kaepernick and some responding to comments made on Friday by President Donald Trump about those protests — the Pittsburgh Steelers upped the ante by saying that their team would not even be taking the field until the anthem was over.
And when the “Stars and Stripes” played, only the Chicago Bears stood — yes, stood, arm in arm — on the sidelines:
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) September 24, 2017
But as the ENTIRE Steelers team stayed off the field, one of their players refused to disrespect the flag and the anthem that celebrates it.
Left Tackle — and Veteran Army Ranger and West Point graduate — Alejandro Villanueva (#78) stood proudly with his hand over his heart, respecting the flag he volunteered to fight for:
The Steelers were not on the sidelines during the national anthem. LT Alejandro Villanueva, who served in the Army, stood by the tunnel pic.twitter.com/teTCoJ3vFx
— Master Tesfatsion (@MasterTes) September 24, 2017
— John Beadling (@jbeadling3) September 24, 2017
The 28-year-old former Army Ranger is a Bronze Star recipient and served three tours in Afghanistan.
Imagine being Villanueva. He fought for this country and then has to play side by side with teammates who blatantly disrespect his service and the flag.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS Sports sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl why his team will remain in the locker room during the National Anthem, via NFL.com:
“You know, these are very divisive times for our country and for us as a football team it’s about us remaining solid. We’re not going to be divided by anything said by anyone. … “[I told our players] if you feel the need to do anything I’m going to be supportive of that — as Americans you have that right. But whatever we do we’re going to do 100 percent, we’re going to do together. We’re not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda.”
Americans disgusted by the kneelers quickly took to Twitter to show their appreciation:
Thank you, Alejandro Villanueva#Steelers
— 🏈Blake Raab🐧🏒 (@N4BWR) September 24, 2017
— Cory Berchick (@c_berchick11) September 24, 2017
Lots of 78 jerseys will be sold this week #Steelers
— TJLS on ESPN 1120 (@JoeLodanosky) September 24, 2017
— Peter Lawrence (@_PeteLaw) September 24, 2017
— B1$0N (@_B1S0N) September 24, 2017