Published: Tue, September 26, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Fans react to Steelers' anthem decision

Fans react to Steelers' anthem decision

"I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault, and my fault only", Villanueva said.

The Pittsburgh Steelers - mostly - opted not to participate in the national anthem prior to Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.

"At the heat of the moment, when I've got soldiers, wounded veterans texting me that I have to be out there then I think everything would have been put aside from every single one of my teammates, no doubt", Villanueva said.

Dozens of NFL players across the league opted to kneel during the national anthem after President Donald Trump said players should be fired by the NFL for kneeling.

Pacing back and forth after waiting in the locker room for over 24 hours, players for the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping someone will let them know when the national anthem has concluded so they can take the field.

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, Villanueva's jersey is now the sixth-best selling and searched jersey on NFLShop.com. "Many of them were not going to accept the words of the President, so we made a decision to not take the field". We did not want to appear divided on the sideline with some standing and some kneeling or sitting.

"I will support all my teammates, and all my teammates and all of my coaches have always supported me", he said.

Villanueva said his team would have joined him if they had known about the "extreme circumstances" he was going through before the game. "This guy served our country, and we thank him for it". But whatever we do we're going to do 100 percent, we're going to do together.

Well, if I may say so, and if it is not presumptuous to say so, I stand with Villaneuva. Trump referred to a player who disrespects the flag as a "son of a bitch".

Trump said he was not watching National Football League games on Sunday — "Believe me, I'm doing other things", he said — but said he watched a little bit and "I will say there was tremendous solidarity for our flag and for our country". I wish there was a different way to do this thing. The other players wanted to accommodate Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, and several were surprised to see him standing outside the tunnel by himself, according to ESPN reporting.

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