It was a sight to be seen as Alejandro Villanueva was the only player to come out on the field to stand in reverence of the national anthem at Sunday’s game.
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
Fox News reports that Villanueva is a former Army Ranger who stands tall at a whopping 6’9″. He is currently one of the tallest players in the league not just in stature but in character as well, which he proved at Sundays game against the Chicago Bears.
The display appeared after President Donald Trump commented Friday about NFL players choosing to take a knee during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,’” Trump commented while at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama.
NFL clubs and organizations have voiced their opinions about his comments. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said to CBS Sports that the organization would not be taking part in the national anthem “to remove ourselves from the circumstance.”
“People shouldn’t have to choose,” Tomlin said. “If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides.”
Here is what we know about Villanueva’s career and military service?
He graduated from West Point where he also did his time as a college football phenom. He Graduated with a degree in Systems Engineering and then signed with the Eagles in May of 2014. They then cut him in August of that year.
While in the Army he served three tours in Afghanistan and also became an Army Ranger.He was awarded the Bronze Star for overseas service and another Bronze Star for valor.
Villanueva joined the Steelers back in August of 2014 but did not get his first start until October 2015.
The following is what he said about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“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 said to ESPN “It’s his decision. Obviously he has brought up the issue in a great way. But I think if he encourages other players or other people in the stands to sit down, it’s going to send the wrong message.”
“I will be the first one to hold hands with Colin Kaepernick and do something about the way minorities are being treated in the United States, the injustice that is happening with police brutality, the justice system, inequalities in pay,”Villanueva said. “You can’t do it by looking away from the people that are trying to protect our freedom and our country.”