Alejandro Villanueva, Pittsburgh Steelers Left Tackle, and a former military veteran was the only player on the Steelers to stand for the national anthem…
Villanueva has been critical of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem.
“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. “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.
“He has to be a little more careful and look at the big picture of the things that he’s doing because as a service member, I have to understand it. But he’s an athlete, he’s got a huge platform, he has to see the impact he has on other people’s lives.”
Villanueva is a former rifle platoon leader of the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Villanueva, who is of Spanish descent, went on to say that American minorities have more liberties than in other countries.
How do you think of the way Villanueva is handling this “form” of protest despite his teammates all “sitting this one”?
Villanueva, who is of Spanish descent, is a former U.S. Army Captain who served three active tours in Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor — one of the highest individual awards given by the U.S. military.
Though he stands 6-foot-9, and served in the military at 240 pounds, Villanueva had to gain nearly 100 pounds in order to play on the offensive line for the Steelers after not being chosen in the NFL draft.