This NFL national anthem protest is getting out of control. On Sunday, players across the country and even a few singers of the national anthem itself decided to take the knee ala failed 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as some sort of amorphous protest against police brutality….or something.
At any rate, while the entire Steelers team had decided to remain in the locker room, offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, an Army Ranger veteran who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, came out of the tunnel to stand for the flag.
He was hailed across the country for his service to his country and for being the one NFL player on Sunday to make a brave stand, literally. But that didn’t last long.
In a press conference on Monday, Villanueva addressed his controversial move–and apologized for it.
“I’ve made Coach Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault, and that is my fault only. I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault, and my fault only. And I made the Steelers also look bad, and that is my fault, and my fault only. So unwillingly, I made a mistake. I talked to my teammates about the situation, hopefully they understand it.”
He explained that while the team had disagreed on what to do during the national anthem on Sunday, they decided to stay in the tunnel to avoid controversy. He felt uncomfortable doing so, and team management agreed that he could stand at the entrance of the tunnel just so he could see the flag during the anthem.
This was when the pictures of him were snapped and many celebrated his brave act of patriotism. His jersey sales skyrocketed in one day as a result.
Obviously, either his teammates, who were made to look bad by his standing for the anthem, or team management, after witnessing the fallout, made him feel very bad for simply honoring the flag he had risked his life to protect.
Look, if this anthem protest is all about free speech, then why can’t the individual players choose for themselves whether or not they want to kneel, stretch, or stand? Villanueva would never have been thrust into the spotlight in the first place if the whole team hadn’t decided to wait in the tunnel during the national anthem.
Furthermore, the only reason the team felt waiting in the tunnel was best was because the whole NFL decided for some reason to participate in this silly protest!
At the end of the day, this protest is supposed to be about police violence against black people, but it ignores the underlying issues that plague the black community: abortion, broken families, crushing homicide rates, and black-on-black crime. Do you know what is costing more black lives?
Villanueva shouldn’t feel pressured to apologize for a flag he fought for any more than white people should be made to feel responsible for a problem that is a lot bigger than a few isolated cases of possible police brutality.
Hear Activist Mommy’s entirely new take on the national anthem protests!