Alejandro Villanueva, a heretofore little-known offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to this weekend, now has one of the top selling jerseys in the NFL.
Villanueva, a veteran Army Ranger who served 3 tours in Afghanistan, and recipient of a Bronze star for valor, was the lone Steeler to come out of the locker room before yesterday’s game and stand for the National Anthem.
The entire team had decided to boycott the Star Spangled Banner, cowardly hiding in the locker room during pre-game ceremonies.
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
Truly an inspiration in a sea of spoiled, self-involved millionaires who have little respect for the Anthem, the flag, and the people who fought and died for them.
Villanueva was one of those people who fought for their freedom.
The fans are showing their appreciation for Villanueva’s patriotism in the form of jersey sales. The left tackle’s jersey is now flying off the racks at a pace typically seen by quarterbacks or other top stars in the game.
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Villanueva’s jersey is now the top seller for the Steelers, which has big name stars such as Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown.
— Dagen McDowell (@dagenmcdowell) September 25, 2017
How’s that taste, Pittsburgh?
Head Coach Mike Tomlin actually had the audacity to take a shot at Villanueva for being the only man on the team with enough courage to stand by America.
When asked about his lineman’s insistence on standing for the Anthem while his teammates cowered in the locker room Tomlin responded, “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team.”
Looks like the fans are at least standing behind the Bronze star recipient, even if his coach won’t.
In a 2016 interview with ESPN, Villanueva ripped Colin Kaepernick, the ‘mastermind’ of the entire Anthem protest trend in the NFL.
“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.
He added that trying to effect change for racial equality – something he supports – should not come at the expense of the National Anthem.
“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.”
NFL players owe a debt of gratitude to the veteran, mostly for his service but also for the fact he was the only positive story about the league this past weekend. A league which is seeing ratings and interest in a freefall since they started coming out of the closet as anti-American.
Do you stand with Alejandro Villanueva? Share your thoughts below!
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