Villanueva: ‘I Feel Embarrassed’ – Blames Himself

As you may have heard, on Sunday the Steelers announced that they would not take the field until after the National Anthem was sang. The problem was that Alejandro Villanueva took a few too many steps and ended up too far out in front of the rest of the group.

That resulted in video and pictures of what is being preceived as him disagreeing with the teams decision to stay in the tunnel.

“Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself, I feel embarrassed,” Villanueva said.

“When everybody sees an image of me standing by myself, everybody thinks that the team and Steelers are not behind me, and that’s absolutely wrong. It’s quite the opposite. Actually, the entire team would’ve been out there with me, even the ones that wanted to take a knee.”

Villanueva said that after the team had agreed to stay in the locker room area that he approached Ben Roethlisberger to propose a slight change to their original plan. He asked that the team stand in the tunnel instead of the locker room and that he would stand in the front of the line with team captains Roethlisberger, and Cam Heyward.

Confusion after the game came when James Harrison said he thought the plan was for everyone to stand together but said ‘obviously not’. That sparked the theory that Villanueva operated on his own vindiction. Villanueva cleared that up by saying that few teammates actually new of his plan because he only approached the team captains.

Cameron Heyward said that congestion inside the small tunnel of Soldier Field caused Villanueva to get separated from the group.

“When we came out of the locker room into that tunnel, it was a very small area,” Heyward said. “There was a flag or something coming off the field so there were a bunch of Bears fans, coming off the field holding that [and] going in front of us, so it kind of held us up.”

It’s doubtful that many of the fans perception would have changed if things had gone the way they were supposed to, but maybe a few days of consideration may have given the Steelers a better idea than a late night team meeting on Saturday night.

As I reported earlier the Steelers plan to take the field Sunday in Baltimore, but will have some type of demonstration to show their belief of unity.



  1. Brian

    September 26, 2017 at 11:37 am

    What ever happen to “Sticks and Stones”. As an Army Combat Vet, we go to different countries risking our lives for the American flag and most of those countries don’t like us, or even want us there. Do you think because they said a few words to us that we should just leave and not care. We are Adults and not kids (Sticks and Stones). I have no issues with people taking a knee while the Anthem plays, that is what this country is founded on ( freedom ). But for a team knowing that a “Brother” risked his life to protect the freedom that they have, and to make the money that they do. To make him feel embarrassed makes no since to me. You don’t want to make the players that kneel feel like you not supporting them, but what about the ones that want to stand and salute or have their hand on the heart, was the choice giving to them? National Anthem is not the place to protest!

  2. Carol Scherf

    September 26, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Alejandra should NOT be embarrassed. Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin and Al Rooney should be. Coach can take a personal stance but player cannot? Bad. Lost two fans here.

  3. Don Conley

    September 27, 2017 at 8:01 am

    My family and I have been Steeler fans for 50+ years. The fiasco Sunday over the National Anthem and our nation’s flag is a VERY sad moment for all of us. I did respect Alejandro Villanueva for showing respect until he said he felt he had thrown his team under the bus. So, who got thrown under the bus? Our National Anthem and our nation’s flag? We have always had great respect for the Steelers and the values of the Rooney family until Sunday. Is this behavior what you stand for? If so, we are done! Move your team to Russia. At least, they have some respect for our National Anthem and our nation’s flag!

  4. Kim Speck

    October 1, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I’m embarrassed by Mike Tomlin’s response to Alejandro choosing to honor his flag. Alejandro shouldn’t have been asked to choose. Shame ON YOU Tomlin!

    I have been a Steelers fan my entire life. If the Steelers ever do such a disgraceful act again, I will choose my nation and my flag over a football team every time. I will not be watching the game today.

  5. Pingback: Steelers Organization Will Support Players Who Kneel -

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