Steelers' Alejandro Villanueva 'embarrassed' he stood alone for national anthem

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"I was looking for 100 percent participation", Tomlin said.

Villanueva's appearance on the field, hand over his heart during the national anthem while the rest of his teammates remained behind in the locker-room tunnel, was one of the most striking images on a day of unprecedented protests around the league.

Kaepernick's actions sparked a national conversation that several other NFL players have joined, protesting on multiple occasions and continuing even after Kaepernick became a free agent at the end of the season.

"Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself I feel embarrassed", Villanueva said.

Villanueva jerseys are available in men's and women's sizes. Three teams-the Steelers, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks-did not come to the sideline when "The Star-Spangled Banner" played.

Earlier Monday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said the team agreed in a players-only meeting late Saturday night that the team would stay in the tunnel for the anthem as a show of team unity. "I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only".

"I've made the Steelers look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only", Villanueva said. "I know there would have been a lot of chaos and commotion because the guys behind us wouldn't know what was going on".

Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva received a sizeable boost in popularity after defying his team's plan to sit out the national anthem. "I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault".

Regardless of the actual intentions of all involved, the combination of Villanueva's background and the striking image of his No. 78 cutting a singular figure against the Soldier Field grass on a politically charged afternoon across the National Football League turned him into an unwitting cause celebrity. People should realize taking a knee is not a direct protest of the flag or the anthem, said Villanueva, one of the first critics of Colin Kaepernick's method of protest. I never planned to boycott. "I'm not gonna pretend I have some kind of righteous voice", Villanueva said. "Many of them felt like something needed to be done".

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