On a day when anti-American NFL players attacked the nation’s values and symbols, there was one lone bright spot for patriotic Americans to take pride in.
But it didn’t last long.
The Pittsburgh Steelers anthem protesting coach forced a military veteran to do something unthinkable.
Alejandro Villanueva is the Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle.
He is a West Point graduate and a U.S. Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan and received a bronze star medal for his bravery.
The Steelers had decided to stay in the locker room during the playing of the anthem, but Villanueva took the field and stood with his hand over his heart while his teammates hid in the tunnel.
Rather than honor America, the rest of the Steelers believed making a political statement against President Trump was the best use of their time.
Images of Villanueva standing alone with his hand over his heart went viral across social media.
But this did not sit well with head coach Mike Tomlin who wanted 100% participation in the anthem protest.
Fox News reports:
A former Army Ranger, Villanueva was the only Steeler to break from the team’s orders and come out of the tunnel Sunday in Chicago to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Speaking after his team’s 23-17 loss to the Bears, Tomlin appeared to take a swipe at the Bronze Star recipient’s decision.
“Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin told the media that, prior to kickoff Sunday, the Steelers held a team meeting and decided, though not unanimously, to not come out of the locker room for the national anthem. Tomlin added the intent was to have his team focus on the game and not President Trump’s comments blasting players who chose to protest during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
In an unbelievable turn of events, it was Villanueva – the decorated American hero – who had to apologize for honoring the flag.
He was made to feel ashamed for standing up for America while his teammates who protested the anthem and divided America were seen as the innocent victims.
Villanueva apologized profusely and stated he did not mean to throw his teammates under the bus.
ABC News reports:
“Villanueva — a former U.S. Army Ranger — said the moment happened by accident.
“Unfortunately, I threw my teammates under the bus, unintentionally,” the offensive tackle said at a press conference on Monday. “Every single time I see that picture of me, standing by myself, I feel embarrassed.”
Villanueva appeared to stand firm on Sunday, holding his hand over his heart as the song played, while his teammates remained in the tunnel behind him in protest of President Donald Trump’s recent criticism of players who “disrespect” the U.S.
Villanueva, who served multiple tours in Afghanistan, apologized for how the situation unfolded.
“I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault, and my fault only,” Villanueva said. “We as a team tried to figure it out, but obviously butchered it.”
“It was a very embarrassing part on my end,” he added. “When everyone sees an image of me standing by myself, everybody thinks the team and the Steelers are not behind me, and that is absolutely wrong. It’s quite the opposite.”
It was a strange and disturbing development.
Critics immediately placed the blame at Tomlin’s feet since had been so critical of Villanueva after Sunday’s game.
Do you agree?
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