Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was in the spotlight last week after he was the only Pittsburgh player to stand for the national anthem. He’s not happy with that.
Today, after the Steelers reversed course from last week and came out of the locker room for the anthem, Villanueva asked that everyone stop using him as an example of anything other than a football player.
“To use me as a tool to push agendas and push messages is completely unacceptable,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva was particularly bothered by the fact that some saw his anthem stance as a sign of defiance against Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who said last week that his team would stay in the locker room instead of coming out on the field for the national anthem.
“I love my teammates, I love Coach Tomlin, I love this organization and I love coming to work,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva wants to be nothing more than a good soldier and a good teammate, and his week as a symbol made him deeply uncomfortable.