Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, was the lone Steelers player to leave the locker room. Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva gained a lot of attention on social media on Sunday after being the only Steeler player to exit the tunnel and stand for the National Anthem.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who donated to Donald Trump's election campaign, announced shortly after the game began that every player who "protested" the National Anthem and showed "immense disrespect to our nation" would be fined a cool million dollars.
He was in my battalion.
He added: "To be quite honest with you, I didn't appreciate our football team being dragged into politics this weekend". People shouldn't have to choose. "I just wish both sides understand that they want the right thing, but doing it through the national anthem, I wish there was a different way".
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"Man, these are divisive times in the United States", said Tomlin.
Even though Villanueva served in the Army, he said he is not offended by players kneeling during the anthem. "But what I do know is that dog fighting is absolutely despicable - I will always protest against it - and we will continue to do so until changes are made".
"For anybody who thinks Coach Tomlin is not as patriotic as you can get in America, or any one of my teammates, or the owner, I take offense to that", Villanueva said.
"For us as a football team, it's about us remaining solid. We're football players, we're football coaches", Tomlin said.
"Al is a unique circumstance, what he's been through, some of the things he's talked about before", guard David DeCastro said of Villanueva's decision Sunday. It's his decision. Obviously he has brought up the issue in a great way. Last season, he made comments critical of San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick, whose anthem protest touched off other anthem protests around the league.