NFL’s experiment is no touchdown

In 2017, when Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva stood near the tunnel to the Pittsburgh locker room with his hand over his heart while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played, the former Army Ranger was the only member of his team to do so.

Apropos of the moment, that game against the Chicago Bears was being played at Soldier Field.

Villanueva, a Bronze Star recipient, said his decision was not an intentional violation of coach Mike Tomlin’s order for every team member to stay in the locker room until the anthem had concluded. It was the result of Villanueva asking the team’s leaders to amend their original plan because of the texts he’d received from wounded veterans asking him to stand for the anthem. Instead, he stood with star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the team’s other captains at the front of the tunnel. Chaos ensued, and Villanueva found himself standing alone, with his teammates a few yards behind him.

 

 

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