In times like these, when violence, hate and disrespect are being praised and patriotism is being condemned, it’s not easy being the one to step forward and stand proudly in honor of our country.
While the rest of his team cowardly hid in the locker room, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva made national headlines thanks to his decision to not follow blindly those who disrespect the national anthem.
Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, proudly stood during the national anthem. He said he understands why players are protesting racial inequality, but believes using the national anthem to do so is inappropriate.
The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team stayed in the locker room for national anthem except for Villanueva who served 3 tours in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/6kvGDls8wQ
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) September 24, 2017
As a result of Villanueva’s patriotic move, his jersey sales have skyrocketed on Fanatics.com, launching up to the third highest-seller in Pittsburgh Steelers jersey. Villanueva’s jersey also jumped into the top sellers around the league, trailing only Marshawn Lynch, Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, Brown, and Aaron Rodgers in sales.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that he had hoped for “100 percent participation” from his players sitting out the national anthem, reports Independent Journal Review.
“My contention was that we would not allow politics to divide us. We’re football players, we’re a football team. If many of them felt like something needed to be done, I asked those guys to discuss it, and whatever they discussed, that you know we’d have 100 percent participation or we’d do nothing,” Tomlin said.
Villanueva will probably be standing with his hand over his heart every single time our national anthem plays. Judging from his jersey sales, the offensive lineman’s demonstration was warmly welcomed and appreciated by NFL fans.
If only more players would follow his example.
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