Ex-Army Ranger Takes Heat From Coach After Standing Solo For National Anthem

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Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, thought being “respectful of our football team” is far more important than the right of Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva to show respect for the national anthem.

In the midst of the ‘kneeling’ during the National Anthem NFL controversy, the entire Steelers lineup was set to not enter through the opening tunnel during the National Anthem on Sunday. However, former Army Ranger, Villanueva was the only player from the team to break from the coach’s orders and come out of the tunnel Sunday in Chicago to stand for The Star Spangled Banner.

Alejandro Villanueva National Anthem

Associated Press

After the game, Coach Tomlin seemed to take a jab at Villaneuva during a post game talk with the team.

“Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said.

“Many of them felt like something needed to be done. I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed that we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing,” Tomlin said after the game. “They discussed it for an appropriate length of time and they couldn’t come to an understanding, so they chose to remove themselves from it. They were not going to be disrespectful in the anthem so they chose not to participate, but at the same time many of them were not going to accept the words of the president.”

Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, decided to stand his ground instead and placed his hand over his heart while the anthem played.

Villanueva has been quite vocal about former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem, saying his actions may “send the wrong message.” Colin’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem set off a massive shock wave through the NFL and even gained the attention of President Trump.

“I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year…when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year,” Villanueva told ESPN in 2016.

What do you think about the situation? Should American football players be standing and showing respect while our countries National Anthem plays?