Steelers' Villanueva: I threw teammates 'under the bus' during national anthem


On Sunday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced that his team would not come on to the field during the national anthem as to not play politics. "Many of them were not going to accept the words of the President, so we chose to not take the field". Three teams - the Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks - didn't come to the sideline until after the playing of the anthem had finished.

Roethlisberger said that while the team did decide its unity was the priority, he personally wanted to be out there for the anthem.

While Tomlin did not directly condemn Villanueva, some felt his comments - and the fact he sought "100 percent participation" - was offensive. 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.

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Villanueva said he got caught in front of a person carrying a Bears flag, and by the time the flag had been moved, the national anthem had started, and at that point, he didn't think it was OK to move, which gave us the image below that shows the offensive lineman without his teammates.

"I'm offended by that", Villanueva said.

Apparently, that was not the plan - even as many people assumed, for Villanueva.

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The Steelers have commented at length on their decision to remain off the field on a day that saw teams throughout the National Football League make political statements in the wake of President Donald Trump's controversial remarks on anthem protests. Villanueva made it to his spot, but the team captains couldn't reach him before the anthem began. "At that moment, it was the decision of do you walk out of the national anthem and join your teammates, I know that would have looked extremely bad".

Villanueva insists he was not, that saluting the colors had everything to do with miscommunication and nothing to do with him setting himself apart from the organization, the coaches or the players who have helped craft his improbable success story. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served terms in Afghanistan, was the lone Steeler to appear during the anthem. "Al thought we were standing there".

"When we came out of the locker room into that tunnel, it was a very small area", Roethlisberger said. But because of opposition, we get drug into bull--t, to be quite honest with you.

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"I stand because I respect the men who died in real battle so I have the freedom to battle on the field. but everyone these days likes to find a reason to protest and that's their right", Wolfe told ESPN, according to The Washington Post.