James Harrison was surprised Alejandro Villanueva did his own thing

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When Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva was an Army Ranger, he was expected to follow orders.

The fact that he didn’t on Sunday came as a surprise to at least one teammate.

Villanueva was the only Steeler to be seen during the national anthem yesterday, standing with his right hand over his heart while the rest of the team stayed in the locker room, in what coach Mike Tomlin described as a way to avoid being dragged into a political fight.

In a look at the team’s decision-making process by Jacob Klinger of PennLive.com, there was a sense that the Steelers were unified on their decision to stay out of it after a team meeting. They considered three options, including standing on the sideline holding hands, staying off the field, or a mixed response of some kneeling, some standing and some with hands on the shoulders of those. The third option was discarded quickly, and apparently the decision to stay in was approved by a narrow majority.

And while some players thought Villanueva was exempt because of his military service, veteran linebacker James Harrison was confused.

“We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously, ” Harrison said. “But, I guess we weren’t.”

Veteran guard Ramon Foster said the team supported Villanueva standing just off the field, while offensive lineman Chris Hubbard said most players assumed Villanueva was an exception to the solidarity.

“Al was cool with it, with whatever we went through. He was on board. That’s Al, man,” Hubbard said. “He’s a good guy.”

Villanueva did not talk to reporters after the game. He said previously he supported Colin Kaepernick‘s stance on racial inequality, but not his method of delivering the protest.

Tomlin said he thought the team was in agreement on how to handle it, and that they were going to handle it together.

“We will not be divided on this,” Tomlin said. We got a group of men in there that come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, creed, ethnicities and religions, and so forth. That’s football. That’s a lot of team sports, but because of our position, we get drug into bulls—, to be quite honest with you.

“Some have opinions. Some don’t. We wanted to protect those that don’t. We wanted to protect those that do.”

But as he did in Afghanistan, Villanueva put himself in the line of fire. Which is his right as much as any player has to protest otherwise. Whether his bosses are fine with his insubordination remains to be seen.

181 responses to “James Harrison was surprised Alejandro Villanueva did his own thing

  1. “Whether his bosses are fine with his insubordination remains to be seen.”

    LOL – so now it’s insubordination for an Army vet to stand and honor our flag during the national anthem? My how we’ve devolved as a country. SMH.

  2. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE SIR!! AND STANDING FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. YOU SIR ARE AS FINE AS THEY COME. I WILL ALWAYS STAND FOR YOU AND YOUR FELLOW SERVICE MEMBERS WHO SACRIFICED FOR ME. I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL TO YOU!

  3. Tolerance works both ways. If standing for the anthem was important to Villanueva, as it clearly was, his teammates and employers should respect that (especially given his history.) If they cannot or will not, then they shouldn’t expect their actions to be respected either.

  4. Insubordination? Good luck with that. If owners and coaches are going to allow players to sit/kneel/lock arms/stand on their heads/do jumpingjacks/etc during the anthem, they would be extremely wise not punish a player for respectfully standing during it.

  5. This is a bad look for the Steelers and Tomlin. Good for Al! Thanks for standing up for what’s right and thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for America, Al.

  6. And since, by NFL rules agreed upon with the union, players are required to stand on the sideline during the anthem, he is not guilty of “insubordination” as you call it. He refused an illegal order as any good soldier would do.

  7. no insubordination at all. ridiculous for you to use that term. i back the players who made their protest, and i also back this man; who has eaarned the right to be out there in a military salute. and i bet no one in the locker room, beyond perhaps harrison had an issue with it.

  8. He took an oath of course he should stand. What James and the rest of the team did was fine to. They had a right to a peaceful protest, and they did that. As a vet I agree with what both sides did.

  9. Whether they stand or not, show up or not, it’s their choice. He shouldn’t be judged for being there just like the rest of them shouldn’t be judged for staying in the back. This is exercising Constitutional Rights of free speech. Trump trying to influence it one way or another is Trump trying to violate the Constitution. Period.

  10. The Steelers should have put as much effort into their play yesterday as they did all their discourse and decision-making on what to do about the pre-game. Their so-called ‘play’ was pathetic, which has been an especial problem on the road under Mike Tomlin, against allegedly inferior teams.

  11. Well that just shows that Harrison is either naive or stupid if he thought this guy wasn’t going to stand for the National Anthem like he always has.

  12. It’s not an easy thing any way you look at it. Obviously some players will be surprised since everyone seemed to agree on one action. Seems like he tried to follow both his agreement to the team as well as his own feelings. Not my place to judge him either way.

  13. ““We will not be divided on this,” Tomlin said.”

    You thought you were going to beat the Bears, too. The Raiders laughed at you after you lost. and then the Patriots laughed at both of you and the Broncos when they lost. I imagine KC still considers themselves the mix somehow

  14. kingsam8 says:
    September 25, 2017 at 11:43 am
    didnt Harrison threaten his teammates last year for anyone taking a knee?

    —————
    Possibly. But then Trump had to go shoot his mouth off and make it a dare. Then the players had to take the bait and challenge righ back. Now we wait for the next shot to be fired, my money is on Twitter.

    The amazing thing is that either side thinks this is an intelligent way to handle this, and yet apparently both do.

  15. Since when does respecting and honoring the history and sacrifice behind the flag become a controversial act?
    It goes both ways, if your going to acknowledge those protesting then you have to acknowledge those who support.
    God bless you AV!

  16. When Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva was an Army Ranger, he was expected to follow orders
    ———-
    He did follow orders. He’s an American first. You stand for the national anthem. He’s a true American hero. He just made a million new fans.

  17. Heaven help ANY boss or otherwise, who punishes Villanueva for supporting his country and his military comrades!! He has already made very positive National news 🙂 It would behoove them to leave him alone…..

  18. It’s not enough that Villanueva supported Kaep’s mindset behind his protest. It’s not enough that he voiced a willingness to actually address issues affecting minorities in this country. It’s not enough that he served his country and wanted to show his respect. It’s never enough is it?

  19. What a joke.

    Players are upset because someone cares passionately about doing what is right.

    I truly hope the ratings drops will cause the players to wake up.

    I would really hate to walk away from the NFL completely but I am close to doing so.

    My group of friends has already nixed our plans for a yearly trip to a game. As there are four franchises within a 4 hour drive we usually rotate. No jersey purchases this year either.

  20. How many of these knelling, hiding players donate money to causes they are concerned with? What a giant distraction to the game and the minute. Seahawks lost too as they announced “Team Meetings” to decide what to do – huge de-focus – plain and simple – these guys are paid millions so figure out some action that makes an impact, don’t sit around and knell and hide which changes nothing

  21. Perhaps if the rest of the team had walked a mile in his boots they would have a better understanding of the flag and its meaning
    I have nothing but respect for this guy going against the team and standing for what is truly right

    I do not think one member of his team would have the stones to get in his way after all they are a bunch of soft punks

    Everyone has a right to do what they want but not when they are at work

  22. red says:

    Did people even read what Tomlin said? Obviously not. I liked Tomlins approach.
    ==========================================================

    Telling your whole team to hide inside the locker room during the anthem, which is actually against the rules that the union agreed to, is not an approach I like.

  23. Michael E says:
    September 25, 2017 at 11:38 am
    Villanueva has the top selling jersey on Fanatics this morning.

    ————————-

    I’m thinking about buying one – AND I’M A PATRIOTS FAN! (and a fan of this true patriot).

  24. commentcentral says:
    September 25, 2017 at 11:53 am
    so the steelers have a free speech policy on kneeling, but not on standing.

    ——————-
    Its not just the Steelers. I have been trying to get a handle on whats the allowed free speech and what isnt. Its not clear at all and sometimes seems like it just depends on who you talk to. I wish they would put out a manual or even an Allowable Free Speech For Dummies would help me a lot.

  25. Where you really supposed that a Man that did 3 tours did his own thing James ,just goes to show you James your a sheep !

  26. It isn’t easy being a real leader like Villanueva, but James wouldn’t know anything about that. Big Thank You to a real hero who understands how important honoring our flag is and what real sacrifice is all about.

  27. “Whether his bosses are fine with his insubordination remains to be seen.”

    You think this is loud now, wait and see what happens if the Steelers organization comes down on him in any way for standing for the anthem…

  28. Villenueva is a Bronze Star winner (with “V” device) and a Purple Heart recipient.

    He’s earned the right to do whatever the heck he wants. And he knows a damn sight more about what that flag is all about than any of the other players in the NFL.

  29. dylannelson7575 says:
    September 25, 2017 at 11:36 am
    “Whether his bosses are fine with his insubordination remains to be seen.”

    LOL – so now it’s insubordination for an Army vet to stand and honor our flag during the national anthem? My how we’ve devolved as a country. SMH.

    ——————-

    Kind of tragic, isn’t it?

  30. There is a movement to vilify anything that positively represents this country. It is part of a plan that is in motion. Even the media are in on it. A lot of people are being taught to hate this country. That sucks.

  31. “We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously, ” Harrison said. “But, I guess we weren’t.”

    In other words, How dare he upset the group think of the Pittburgh Kneelers…

  32. The team voted and staying in the locker room won by a majority. So if one guy doesn’t have to abide by a vote, then maybe no one does. Ignore Trump if you didn’t vote for him.

  33. I support the players RIGHT to protest, I also support this guy’s RIGHT to not protest.

    You see, you can’t support one without the other, nor can you only support one.

  34. “Insubordination?!” Are you kidding me? So now if anyone dares strays from the socially acceptable viewpoint, it’s insubordination?? This is truly sad!
    He stood for the flag for petes sake! I do NOT support Trump in any way shape or form. I did NOT vote for him and won’t. But I do respect a person standing up and honoring America while the anthem plays without resorting to calling it insubordination. Wow!

  35. I have no problem with what Villanueva did yesterday..none whatsoever….he is one of the only guys in the NFL who actually put his life on the line..his boots were on the ground in afghanistan fighting for the right of his steeler teammates to remain in the locker room.

    no one in trumps cabinet, other to rick perry, actually wore a military uniform. no one in leadership in the us congress or senate has served, even in peace time. and the president is a five time draft dodger who still hasnt mentioned anything about the people of Puerto Rico suffering from hurricane maria.

  36. Villanueva is still a member of the Army Reserves. I’m not sure of the exact regulations but he may not have had the freedom to be making his own decision on the matter.

  37. I hope Villanueva gets traded for his “insubordination”. Then he can go to a team with real men and real coach who appreciates a 3 tour Army Ranger. Thank you soldier for making your team look like a joke by standing for our country and defending us with your life!

  38. Why do so many people think that whether it is right or wrong for someone to stand/kneel/whatevs during the national anthem is not the same thing as whether they have a right to decide?

    Part of why America is viewed as “free” is everyone’s right to voice their opinions. Whether you agree or disagree with them is irrelevant.

    Kinda bumming that this is getting more attention than actual football, but hey that’s just my opinion (and I respect yours too, whether you agree with me or not).

  39. So this is what Wikipedia has to say about Villanueva’s military career:
    After graduating from the United States Military Academy Villanueva was commissioned into the United States Army on May 22, 2010 as a second lieutenant in the Infantry.[5] Directly after being commissioned he attended various military schools, including the Infantry, Airborne and Ranger Schools; all located at Fort Benning, Georgia. After completing the three courses he was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York. It was with the 10th Mountain Division he deployed for the first time; for 12 months to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan as a rifle platoon leader.[5] As a result of his actions during this deployment he was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for rescuing wounded soldiers while under enemy fire.[5] When he returned from his deployment, he was reassigned as a company executive officer.[5]

    Villanueva volunteered for the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Ranger Orientation Program in 2013.[5] He was assigned to the 1st Ranger Battalion. His roles within the Battalion have included plans officer, platoon leader, and company executive officer.[5]

    He has deployed two more times to Afghanistan for a total of eight months between both deployments.[5]

    ——

    So this is a guy who repeatedly put himself in harm’s way to serve his country and to protect his fellow soldiers. At 6’7″ he runs into enemy fire to rescue his brothers time and again. I wonder how many of his fellow players would risk everything — death, maiming, disfigurement — to save a comrade. Those other guys wish they could be this kind of man.

  40. What is it about irony and Trump supporters? It’s hilarious. So you’re praising the player for stepping away from his team, putting himself on display and “making it about himself?”

  41. This is how Trump divides and conquers. By whipping up an issue, he has created division within the NFL and within teams and amongst fans. Coincidentally, the Steelers lost a game they were expected to win. Meanwhile Trump is sitting back laughing.

  42. red says:
    September 25, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Did people even read what Tomlin said? Obviously not. I liked Tomlins approach.
    —————————-

    Tomlin should have told his players that we are going to go out there and act like men, and stand up for 3 minutes while the National Anthem is being sung. If you don’t want to stand, you can have the day off, without pay.

  43. “the decision to stay in was approved by a narrow majority.”

    Can you imagine BB having the players vote on how the team will conduct themselves?

  44. I may buy this guys jersey, and I’m a Bengals fan.

    (of course, he was a Bengal before they let him go. Another great decision by Paul Alexander)

  45. It would have been nice if even just one other Steeler stood beside him to show HIM the support he so richly deserves. They let a guy go out there to stand by himself. Absolutely shameful.

  46. It’s really amazing to see as an outsider. America has just been leveled by widespread natural disaster, North Korea is threatening Nuclear War, NAFTA is a mess, and your President is at a rally in Alabama calling out football players. I am trying to think of a another country in the free world that would accept this from it’s leader and I cannot.

  47. Calm down. AV is not going to be disciplined. Tomlin told his team to come to a 100% decision as to what they would do but they obviously forgot that they have an army vet on the team who in no way was going to stay in the tunnel during the anthem. Tomlin is mad that the team did not act as a team on this matter. Instead of standing 15 feet behold AV during the anthem, it would have been a great show for Ben to lead those guys up 15 feet to stand next to AV. My guess is that every Steelers player and coach will be out on that field in Baltimore next week.

  48. There’s one man on the Pittsburgh Steelers and staff. And he is called out? Harrison: when the shoe is on the other foot, it’s different – eh?

    I was at Foxborough yesterday and the crowed booed the Patriots players (more than 10) who knelt. I was seated on the line of the Texans sideline and behind the south endzone and didn’t see any of them kneeling. McCourty is the ringleader and he had a less than stellar game. You can’t tell me he wasn’t affected and didn’t notice the booing.

  49. v2the4 says:
    September 25, 2017 at 12:18 pm
    I have no problem with what Villanueva did yesterday..none whatsoever….he is one of the only guys in the NFL who actually put his life on the line..his boots were on the ground in afghanistan fighting for the right of his steeler teammates to remain in the locker room.

    ———————

    So you “have no problem” with this military vet standing for the anthem? That’s mighty gracious of you.

  50. I think the Steelers, from the coaches all the way down to the water boy, spent more time trying to figure out how they were going to be cute in response to Trump’s comments than actually devising a game plan. Sorry, I’m a lifelong Steelers fan, and Tomlin aka “Captain Cliche” has run his course with myself, as well as a lot of other fans. This BS is the straw that has broken the camels back. Most fans tune in to watch a GD football game, not see how the teams are going to “express” themselves. These protest have solved absolutely nothing, and have in some ways drawn negative attention to their cause. Protest if you must, but at the display of the Flag/Anthem is not the appropriate time to do so…IMO. That said, Trump should refrain from making statements in that tone…at least try to act a little Presidential.

  51. “Whether his bosses are fine with his insubordination remains to be seen.”

    I guess we will be made to care. I wonder how long after this website’s page views decrease like the TV ratings are that this website will decide that going full Social Justice Warrior is a losing business model.

  52. nhpats says:
    September 25, 2017 at 12:30 pm
    “the decision to stay in was approved by a narrow majority.”

    Can you imagine BB having the players vote on how the team will conduct themselves?
    —————————————————–

    No…I can’t. But did you see Matt Light’s comments on the kneeling Patriots? He’s none too happy with their display.

  53. Can you imagine BB having the players vote on how the team will conduct themselves?

    No I can not imagine. Dictators aren’t very nice people. Tomlin tries to get his players to act like men Belicheat tells the mindless worker drones how to act talk and walk…..I know what I like…..people who don’t cheat and think for themselves.

  54. This article is pretty bold. It gives the impression the Alejandro Villanueva standing for for the national anthem is worse than Antonio Brown’s social media fiasco during a team meeting.

    And just as a side note. Title 36 of the United States Code gives detailed and specific regulations for the American Flag. And the NFL and many others have unknowingly violated these laws. This legal document stipulates that all Veterans and Active Military personnel have the right to salute the flag. And all other persons are instructed to stand and place their right hand over their heart if they are able to. So technically it is a crime to not stand for the national anthem.

  55. Having served as a U.S. Marine I understand what Villanueva was saying, and under the same set of circumstances I would’ve done exactly the same… he has paid for and earned the right to do what he wants without question! Because of real heros like Villanueva and Bleier and Tillman serving in a time of war so that the whiney protesters have the right to express themselves shamefully in disrespect to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice… today I’m truly ashamed to be a Steelers fan or a sports fan in general! Go serve first and then you can say or express yourselves in anyway you want, but as of yet you’ve earned nothing so I salute high character heros of strength and honor like Villanueva!

  56. sdelmonte says:
    September 25, 2017 at 12:12 pm
    Nothing like American military exceptionalism.

    •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

    You’re right, sdelmonte. Because without it, you’d have written your comment in German. Keep that in mind.

  57. Where in any interview have you seen any Steeler, including Villanueva or Tomlin, say he was “ordered” to stay in the tunnel or that he defied orders or was insubordinate?

  58. Nofoolnodrool says:
    September 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    No I can not imagine. Dictators aren’t very nice people. Tomlin tries to get his players to act like men…
    ——————-

    Men would have been out there standing for the National Anthem, not hiding in the locker room like cowards. At least on Steeler had some testicular fortitude. Of course, he has actually seen some adversity.

  59. I turned off the tv for the nfl games. However, I would turn it back on to support Alejandro Villanueva. Thank you for your service, sir!
    I stand with those who served and value freedom. the rest of the nfl players they didn’t do jack for the country, except for using the platform to do other bs.
    btw – i’m a first generation immigrant in this country. I didn’t fight for the freedom we have, but I treasure and appreciate those who served and laid down. I will stand and honor them! that’s plain simple.
    race card is cheap! don’t play itt.

  60. I stand for Retreat every evening on my base at 1800; 24 year active duty vet here and currently deployed. Regardless of your convictions, no service-member, active duty or retired, will kneel unless they have removed their hearts from their chest. 8 deployments and I’ve seen the worst this world has to offer; to the red white and blue, I’ll always stand for you.

    That being said, I am NOT a civilian, so should a civilian want to kneel in a non-violent protest, go ahead. I don’t like it, but I tolerate it as a basic American right. But if you do that on an Army post, Air Force Base, Marine Post, or Naval Station, you would get destroyed; enough said.

    And yes……I know this isn’t about disrespecting military personnel, but to me (see: us), it’s personal behind the fence.

    Hail to the Redskins.

  61. I’ve hated the Steelers for decades but one of them might now be my favorite NFL player. (It’s not James Harrison.)

  62. Let’s not go all ga-ga and wave flags over the guy. He was put in a position of ‘damned if he did, damned if he didn’t’ and had to go out there regardless of whether he was in agreement with his teammates. He didn’t want to catch flack from the guys he served with in addition to that USAA money he would risk leaving on the table. He made a choice that best ensured his reputation and kept them post career dollars rolling in while also maintaining the connections he made in the military. He may be strongly against want the president

  63. Decorated Army Ranger veteran (Bronze Star with the V device signifying valorous action in combat) stands for the anthem and it’s insubordination? You should be ashamed of yourself.

  64. Like Pat Tillman and Rocky Bleier and all the men who served and were part of the NFL, I salute Ranger Villanueva for his heroism and honor and high moral character to do what’s right in the face of shamefull cowards who have the nerve to judge or call you out sir? I can truly say today that I’m ashamed to be a Steelers fan and I’m greatly disappointed in the Steelers organization and the entire NFL! Villanueva is a fine example of a real American and a valiant hero who serves America always… well done and thank you sir for everything that you do and represent as a high caliber role model to all!

  65. stillers213 says:
    September 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Only the NFL would force millions of Americans to chose between love of their country and love of an over-hyped sport.
    ——————–

    They aren’t doing any such thing, drama queen. I love my country and watch all of the football I can. I don’t let a few spoiled rich guys ruin my entertainment.

  66. I was surprised that no one put a hand on Villanueva’s shoulder.

    How is it that the One MAN on the Steelers that ahas literally risked his life for this country, is painted as the ‘dissenter’ or the ‘bad guy?;

  67. Insubordination for doing what the league rules tell him? Give me a break!

    The problem I have is that this isn’t a “constitutional right” as people claim. Try doing something at your work that’s against the rules and guidelines and tell your boss it’s your constitutional right. The players are supposed to be on the field for the national anthem per the league rules, protest on your own time.

  68. I’d like to preface this by saying, I’ma huge fan of Alejandro Villanueva and his efforts in terms of putting his life on the line for this country. I’d also like to say this. There’s a huge disconnect between players and the fans. Players aren’t protesting the flag, they aren’t out to disrespect war veterans. In fact, many of them have parents/siblings/friends who serve or who have served in the armed forces. The deal is this and it will remain this. Players are protesting racial inequality in America. As a team, Tomlin made the conscientious decision to take a stand against the divisive rhetoric spewed by the Oompa Loompa in office. As a teammate of Villanueva’s I would have been forced to understand where he is coming from, but I feel that it’s a huge slap in the face to those who are directly affected by racial inequalities in this country. The crass comments by Trump were irresponsible and disgusting, these men are fathers/husbands/sons who work in different communities every day in an effort to make this country better. I just wish the Steelers could have displayed a unified front, and stood up against the issues that plague people of color in this country.

  69. Men would have been out there standing for the National Anthem, not hiding in the locker room like cowards. At least on Steeler had some testicular fortitude. Of course, he has actually seen some adversity.

    As a Combat Vet I wouldn’t expect anything less from Big Al. Also his team mates aren’t cowards because they made a choice they knew would not be popular. The true coward is the draft dodger Trump. As a vet that was drafted I hate gutless COWARDS like Trump. That being said the Anthem is a poor choice to disrespect and self defeating as the noise created blurs the reason for the protest. Chose another vehicle to carry the protest which is needed. Maybe forfeit a a game check for the underprivileged inner kids school supplies or clothes….

  70. What Villanueva did was TERRIBLE! The team decided how they wanted to handle the situation as a team, yet he broke away and did his own thing.

    Did he seek attention? So many of you claim the protesters are just trying to get attention and use that against their cause. So if that is true of the protesters, then that must be true of Villanueva too!

    This post is only meant to show the hypocrisy of how some people think. If you are going to blast the protesters for kneeling because it’s a distraction, it’s only an attention-getter, it’s divisive, etc, then you have to blast Villanueva for doing the EXACT SAME THING.

  71. Anyone who criticizes Al Villanueva for honoring the flag he fought for should be embarrassed as a citizen. True patriots of this country will honor the flag and the men and families who have made sacrifices for it. It’s just plain disheartening to see overpaid prima donnas disrespect everything they were given as american citizens. It sad and shameful they forget what freedom of speech stands for. .

  72. uglydingo says:
    September 25, 2017 at 12:28 pm
    This is how Trump divides and conquers. By whipping up an issue, he has created division within the NFL and within teams and amongst fans. Coincidentally, the Steelers lost a game they were expected to win. Meanwhile Trump is sitting back laughing.
    *******************************************************************************
    Seriously you need to get your facts straight … it was Obama who divided the country. Stop watching fake news CNN.

  73. You know who is standing with Alejandro Villanueva? Millions of Americans.

    During the Neocon era of Iraq 2 after W took office & the fervent jingoism post 9/11, even as a staunch anti-war guy I ALWAYS stood & removed my cap for the Anthem & the Flag. You may not agree with the situation, but you ALWAYS respect the Nation, the Flag & the Office.

    America….we are not perfect & liberty isn’t 100% just for everybody all the time, but where else on Earth is better? WHERE?

  74. Funny how last year it was considered a shame when CK started this whole BS… Now it has become ‘the right thing to do’. It’s a freaking workplace, protest on your own time.. not at work. This is the NFL’s fault for not putting a stop to this nonsense. IT IS INTENDED TO BE DISRESPECTFUL whne they kneel or stay in the locker room, if they could (and maybe will be allowed to soon), they would pee on the flag to make their point… these are not’peaceful protests’

  75. He has the right to stand there. Just like the rest of them had a right not to be there. I guess I don’t know why this is hard. The only disrespect is for someone trying to tell other American’s they don’t have the right to do as they see fit. This is AMERICA.. you have the right to do what you wish. Why is this confusing?

  76. I love these quotes about how Obama divided America… America was untied under Bush. No one had a problem with the Iraq war or how we got involved. Republicans loved Clinton (pick one) before that and Everyone knows that throughout the history of this country there have been no divisions whatsoever. Wake up, read a book. This country has always been divided. Just not talking about it doesn’t mean it is united

  77. There are those who are taking the hypocritical approach and saluting Villanueva, who I’ve said I have great respect for, but honestly, this was the ultimate “look at me” moment. And during a time in which his teammates needed him to have their backs, he chose to turn his back on them and the millions of people who look like him that are fighting for equality in this country. I hope someday, he sees the ramifications of his actions and understands he missed a huge opportunity to make an important statement.

  78. this is all so silly & juvenile

    who cares who does what during the anthem? you’re walking right into their trap, sadly

  79. It’s his right do that good for him. Now I can change to narrative and says he’s racist by going against his team and supporting the presidents views. It’s his right just like Kap had the right to kneel, what the flag means to him doesn’t mean the same to everyone else.

  80. sllabskcustfpk says:
    September 25, 2017 at 1:48 pm
    What Villanueva did was TERRIBLE! The team decided how they wanted to handle the situation as a team, yet he broke away and did his own thing.

    Did he seek attention? So many of you claim the protesters are just trying to get attention and use that against their cause. So if that is true of the protesters, then that must be true of Villanueva too!

    This post is only meant to show the hypocrisy of how some people think. If you are going to blast the protesters for kneeling because it’s a distraction, it’s only an attention-getter, it’s divisive, etc, then you have to blast Villanueva for doing the EXACT SAME THING.
    *********************************************************************************************

    There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between respecting & disrespecting what America stands for.

    Villanueva respected the Nation, the Anthem & the Flag.

    At least the guys who linked arms continued to show some respect while voicing their perspective.

  81. The only difference between standing up outside the tunnel and standing up back where the rest of your teammates are is how many other people can see you.

    He could have stood for the anthem anywhere. Where he chose to do so conveys a message about his motive.

  82. “The third option was discarded quickly, and apparently the decision to stay in was approved by a narrow majority.”

    SOOOOO……what are we talking about here…..30-35 players deciding what every player should do? First off, who decided that what another man believes is in is up for a vote?
    If thats how these players feel, why not let the fans vote on these protest? We can can vote for them to all stand at attention or all kneel……seems fair…..the players have no issue telling other players who should stay in the locker room like cowards.

    Sorry…..but my ethics and standards are not up for a vote and no player should allow his to be decided by another player!

  83. FYI…The Steelers team didn’t “stay in the locker room”. There are several pictures available that show the team in the tunnel right behind AV. Every single one that I see in the picture is standing. Yet, I’m not surprised that PFT has chosen to NOT show a single one of those pictures.

  84. Well, it is no surprise that James Harrison doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get much. As a Veteran, I am proud of Mr. Villenueva’s actions. I guess those that served will be the only ones to get it. My proudest moments as a human being have been serving our country. And guess what? For those of us who have served, we did so with men and women of all races, religions, creeds and backgrounds. We look at people like Collin Kaepernik and laugh. The U.S. Military is the most diverse, team oriented, results oriented and family oriented entity on this planet bar none. I was part of that. Do service members always agree? Absolutely not. Are we united in our responsibility to our country, our people and the flag? Absolutely. I hope the Steelers release him for this because my team needs a left tackle and even if he isn’t the best there is, he has the most heart.

  85. Hundreds of planes leave this country headed to other countries every day. Get on one if you don’t like it.

  86. Is he still a reserve officer? Wikipedia has him as currently serving “Years of Service: 2010-present” West Point has a 5 year commitment of active duty and 3 of inactive reserves. He may have taken some time off to try-out for the NFL during this time period and may still be in the reserves.
    I learned of him a week an half ago at a West Point admissions presentation. The story that was told was that the Steelers coach noticed him standing tall at attention during the National Anthem during a game. He came on their radar as possible addition to the Steelers. When he was released from the Eagles the Steelers brought him on. I don’t think this completely folklore. Wikipedia mentions that Tomlin saw spotted him at a contest with the Eagles.

  87. Being in the military, and fighting a war changes a person. This man knows how lucky the freedoms every American has. EVERY American when so many other countries don’t. He will never see it but he sees these protests as foolish, unnecessary, and a bunch of spoiled athletes disrespecting everything he stands for.

    Alejandro Villanueva was an American hero for his service, and the high level he executed those services. Now he’s a legend, an American icon for standing up for all those that can no longer stand for themselves, and America. As a former servicemen we couldn’t be more proud of our brother.

  88. red says:
    September 25, 2017 at 11:40 am
    Did people even read what Tomlin said? Obviously not. I liked Tomlins approach.
    ——————————————————————
    Yes I did. He said it was a slight majority that voted to stay in. Therefore those with differing opinions were forced to comply or be considered insubordinate/ not a team player. Option 3 would have been the best as it was for many teams. You can’t criticize Trump for being a ‘my way or the highway’ guy and then do the same thing. Tomlin’s decision was the least courageous of the day.

  89. Courage is standing up for your beliefs even if is unpoular. It took true courage to stand alone displaying your feelings about this issue, knowing and accepting there would be some ramifications.

    Wait, wasn’t Kap doing the same thing? Why was he not praised for his courage? Same act, different side of the issue.

  90. Nofoolnodrool says:
    September 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm
    Can you imagine BB having the players vote on how the team will conduct themselves?

    No I can not imagine. Dictators aren’t very nice people. Tomlin tries to get his players to act like men Belicheat tells the mindless worker drones how to act talk and walk…..I know what I like…..people who don’t cheat and think for themselves.

    ————

    What you describe is why BB regularly beats Mike Tomlin coached teams like a drum. I hope the Steelers stay with Mike as coach for a long….long time.

  91. murphyjr1031 says:
    September 25, 2017 at 2:49 pm
    Courage is standing up for your beliefs even if is unpoular. It took true courage to stand alone displaying your feelings about this issue, knowing and accepting there would be some ramifications.

    Wait, wasn’t Kap doing the same thing? Why was he not praised for his courage? Same act, different side of the issue.

    ———–

    Kaep was pouting because Blaine Gabbert beat Kaep out as statring QB.

  92. Alejandro Villanueva followed the orders of the USA, 36 U.S. Code Section 301 and the NFL rule A62-63 of the NFL rulebook. The rest of the Kneelers sat cowering in their locker room, which is punishable by the NFL in fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s). I am totally shocked that the NFL has chosen not to enforce this rule but over disciplines other ridiculous infractions.

  93. Idiots on this post are saying that 99 % of the world’s best athletes wouldn’t make it through military training???? LOL PLEASE. Plenty of people without degrees and who are in less shape than these guys pass it every day, spare us with the self-righteous crap.

  94. JayZee says:
    September 25, 2017 at 12:28 pm
    What is it about irony and Trump supporters? It’s hilarious. So you’re praising the player for stepping away from his team, putting himself on display and “making it about himself?”

    ———————-
    When Kaepernick did it you called it brave and honorable.

  95. Don’t worry about the left wing losers who criticize you Big Al. Somewhere that great hero Pat Tillman is looking down at you proudly and saluting your courage and your service.

  96. Just wondering….have all you kneeler condemners dropped them from your fantasy teams yet? No huh? Kneeling offends you, just not enough to put your money where your mouth is. Got it.

  97. Nofoolnodrool says:
    September 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm
    Can you imagine BB having the players vote on how the team will conduct themselves?

    No I can not imagine. Dictators aren’t very nice people. Tomlin tries to get his players to act like men Belicheat tells the mindless worker drones how to act talk and walk…..I know what I like…..people who don’t cheat and think for themselves.

    —————————
    Actually Belichick let his players make their own call and a number of the knelt and I think all of the at least linked arms. Sorry that does fit your narrative. But if you missed all that because you were boycotting the NFL I completely understand.

  98. mmack66 says:
    September 25, 2017 at 1:25 pm
    stillers213 says:
    September 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Only the NFL would force millions of Americans to chose between love of their country and love of an over-hyped sport.
    ——————–

    They aren’t doing any such thing, drama queen. I love my country and watch all of the football I can. I don’t let a few spoiled rich guys ruin my entertainment.
    _________________________________
    Obviously, you were not one of the millions I was referring to. Some Americans, especially those of us who served, have principles that you apparently don’t understand.

  99. Tells you how screwed up our society is when a decorated veteran is labelled a dissenter for standing up for the flag that he risked his life for.

    Kartrashians get respect and this guy doesn’t ? SMDH

  100. I wish all the people who claim they are boycotting the NFL would also boycott NFL websites so we could talk about football instead of their whiny insistence that the men who play the game aren’t men unless they share their politics.

  101. “We will not be divided on this,” Tomlin said. We got a group of men in there that come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, creed, ethnicities and religions, and so forth. That’s football. That’s a lot of team sports, but because of our position, we get drug into bulls—, to be quite honest with you.”

    So you make everyone hide from the anthem and try to force a fellow Ranger to protest the anthem with you.

    Thank you for standing Al.

    Fire Tomlin.

  102. You want to knee during the anthem, cool. You want to stand and salute? Fine. And we care what James Harrison says now? When did this start? That’s the most concerning thing in the entire article

  103. Deb says:

    “I wish all the people who claim they are boycotting the NFL would also boycott NFL websites so we could talk about football instead of their whiny insistence that the men who play the game aren’t men unless they share their politics.”

    ———————–

    I want to watch football. I loved being a fan. This is our attempt to make our voices heard.

    We have seen how the left treats free speech. We know you want us to just go away. That is a large part of why I am boycotting the NFL because we need to defeat the people like you. We don’t want people that stick their politics into everything ruining everything we enjoy doing.

    After you destroy the NFL you will just find the next thing we love and destroy that too. It is what you people do.

  104. The shame of all of this is the focus on the problem is lost. The problem is concerns about racial inequality and unfair treatment based upon race. Protesting the national anthem draws attention to the issue but in and of itself does nothing to resolve it. But that’s how many in this country operate. We made drugs illegal because in this country many think making something illegal stops the problem. It doesn’t. Same is true here. Protesting the anthem brings the issue to the forefront but does nothing more. So, what I am looking forward to this off season is a slew of stories about how all of the players who protested the anthem are doing something about it such as meeting with civic leaders, going on ride alongs with officers, reaching out to their communities, etc. If they don’t do that then I truly wonder how genuine the protest is.

  105. We have seen how the left treats free speech. We know you want us to just go away. That is a large part of why I am boycotting the NFL because we need to defeat the people like you. We don’t want people that stick their politics into everything ruining everything we enjoy doing.

    Whining lying right wing babies like you make this Vet disgusted. The Liar in Chief blew this thing up and not people like Deb. And Deb I cannot agree more let’s just talk football.

  106. Villanueva didn’t stand to promote Trump or his political agenda. he stood because it was the right thing to do and he showed his own courage by doing it.

  107. There are many reasons that I won’t go into as to why Harrison wouldn’t understand. Suffice it to say, he doesn’t get it. That soldier, that great American, undoubtedly lost friends overseas. No, Harrison wouldn’t understand.

  108. attonasi says:

    We have seen how the left treats free speech. We know you want us to just go away. That is a large part of why I am boycotting the NFL because we need to defeat the people like you. We don’t want people that stick their politics into everything ruining everything we enjoy doing.

    —————————————————————

    Please stop characterizing Americans who don’t see eye-to-eye with you politically as a fire-breathing enemy trying to destroy the world as you know it. I would like to watch football that isn’t politicized. I didn’t appreciate having Kaepernick bring his protest onto the field. But I ignored him, and you could ignore this, too. Whether or not players sit, stand, or kneel during the anthem does not impact anyone else. You show your patriotism as you see fit and let them do the same. That is called FREEDOM. It’s what our soldiers fought for. Americans are a diverse people and they’re not all going to think and act just as you do. Stop crying that if they don’t all think and act just as you, it means you can’t watch football anymore and the mean ol’ liberals have taken it away from you.

  109. youngnoizecom says:
    September 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    Idiots on this post are saying that 99 % of the world’s best athletes wouldn’t make it through military training???? LOL PLEASE. Plenty of people without degrees and who are in less shape than these guys pass it every day, spare us with the self-righteous crap.
    ————————————————————————————-
    You are a total moron, getting through basic training isn’t just about being a great athlete it’s about putting up with crap and being told what to do. Most pro athletes have been coddled their entire life and wouldn’t put up with it. Wake up and and pull your head out.

  110. Deb says:
    September 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm
    attonasi says:

    We have seen how the left treats free speech. We know you want us to just go away. That is a large part of why I am boycotting the NFL because we need to defeat the people like you. We don’t want people that stick their politics into everything ruining everything we enjoy doing.

    —————————————————————

    Please stop characterizing Americans who don’t see eye-to-eye with you politically as a fire-breathing enemy trying to destroy the world as you know it. I would like to watch football that isn’t politicized. I didn’t appreciate having Kaepernick bring his protest onto the field. But I ignored him, and you could ignore this, too. Whether or not players sit, stand, or kneel during the anthem does not impact anyone else. You show your patriotism as you see fit and let them do the same. That is called FREEDOM. It’s what our soldiers fought for. Americans are a diverse people and they’re not all going to think and act just as you do. Stop crying that if they don’t all think and act just as you, it means you can’t watch football anymore and the mean ol’ liberals have taken it away from you.
    —————————————————————————————
    If people want to quit watching football, let them. Why are you trying to make them see things your way? Get over yourself!

  111. uglydingo says:
    September 25, 2017 at 12:28 pm
    This is how Trump divides and conquers. By whipping up an issue, he has created division within the NFL and within teams and amongst fans. Coincidentally, the Steelers lost a game they were expected to win. Meanwhile Trump is sitting back laughing…………….

    The creation is from Kaepernick. This all started when he decided to back Black Lives matter on the issue of Police Brutality. Trump wasn’t President when this was overflowing last year. Trump simply brought it to a head..

  112. FYI…The Steelers team didn’t “stay in the locker room”. There are several pictures available that show the team in the tunnel right behind AV. Every single one that I see in the picture is standing. Yet, I’m not surprised that PFT has chosen to NOT show a single one of those pictures……

    According to NFL bylaws they must be on the field and standing at attention. Being 10 feet out of the locker room is a ridiculous argument that absolves them from nothing…

  113. Villanueva didn’t stand to promote Trump or his political agenda. he stood because it was the right thing to do and he showed his own courage by doing it….

    Did you interview him on his politics? If not how do you know he is not a Trump supporter?

  114. ‘Tomlins approach’ Let’s all stick together and all of us disrespect the Nation and Flag, Yea that’s the ticket. That will show them! Tomlin and the players are employees. The NFL has rules about socks and signs but honoring our Nation/Flag does not rise high enough on their list? NFL, I’m done watching until it does.

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