Alejandro Villanueva Latest News, Photos, and Videos

Pittsburgh Steelers to skip National Anthem, remain in Locker Room

Mr. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served 3 tours in Afganistan, went against the team decision and stood alone for the anthem just outside the tunnel.

Villanueva, a left tackle, stood at the entrance to the locker room tunnel in view of fans with his hand over his heart during the anthem.

On Monday, Roethlisberger said the Steelers would be on the field for the anthem "moving forward".

Today, I heard former National Football League player Tiki Barber say, gloatingly, that these mass pre-game protests (of whatever) are here to stay.

Villanueva was the only player to stand during the anthem Sunday against the Bears.

Villanueva said when the anthem started, it was too late for him to leave the field.

"We're not going to play politics".

Villanueva apologized to his teammates, head coach Mike Tomlin and the franchise, saying he felt "embarrassed" by photos showing him standing alone and appearing to break the image of unity the team wanted to project.

Roethlisberger estimates players were about 20 feet behind Villanueva. "#BoycottPittsburghSteelers #BoycottTheNFL" Another Pittsburgh Steelers fan, @ArvinGibbs, tweeted a video of himself burning a Steelers shirt while playing the national anthem. "So we, as a team, tried to figure it out, obviously butchered it".

"Unfortunately, I threw them under the bus unintentionally", the 29-year-old said, as transcribed by ESPN, additionally stating, "unwillingly, I made a mistake".

"I also know that our players have tremendous respect for the members of our military services, including their teammate Alejandro Villanueva", Rooney said in the statement.

"We're not participating in the anthem today", Tomlin said, adding that the action was "not to be disrespectful to the anthem" but to remove the team "from this circumstance". Villanueva spoke to the media on Monday and shed some light on what happened.

"We were going to go to the tunnel to stand together".

"For anybody who thinks Coach Tomlin is not as patriotic as you can get in America, or any one of my teammates, or the owner, I take offense to that", Villanueva said.

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