Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated Sunday night that he did not want offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva to stand for the national anthem, instead of sitting it out with the rest of his teammates.
Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, was the only Steelers player to stand for the anthem. While Villanueva stood in the tunnel, hand over his heart, the rest of the team remained in the locker room in protest of President Trump’s comments that players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired.
Tomlin said in a post-game press conference that he was looking for “100 percent participation” in whatever course of action the team took during the national anthem.
When asked by a reporter about Villanueva coming out for the anthem, Tomlin said, “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team.”
No Steelers were on the sideline during the anthem.
LT Alejandro Villanueva, a veteran who served in the Army, stood near the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/JOviLUAtiF
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 24, 2017
Villaneuva played in college at the United States Military Academy before going on to become an Army Ranger. He served three tours in Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, before later joining the Steelers.
Coach Tomlin addressed the media following today's game in Chicago.
Posted by Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, September 24, 2017
Sales of the former Army Ranger’s jersey on Fanatics.com shot up to the highest-seller among Pittsburgh Steelers jersey as of just 10 PM Eastern time.
Additionally, Villanueva’s jersey sales rocketed into the top sellers in the entire league as of 7:45 PM EST behind only Marshawn Lynch, Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, Brown, and Aaron Rodgers, 247 Sports reported.
Villanueva, who played football at West Point Military Academy, later went on to become an Army Ranger and served three tours in Afghanistan. He also was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. Prior to playing for the Steelers, he played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014.
Despite Steelers’s coach Mike Tomlin wanting all of his players to remain in the locker room, Villanueva did otherwise.