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Steelers' Alejandro Villanueva 'embarrassed' he stood alone for national anthem

26 September 2017

"The decision was 'Do you walk out of the national anthem and join your teammates?'" Villanueva said.

However, the incident seemed to confuse some teammates, who believed the team had all agreed to stand in the tunnel together.

"When I was a little girl, my dad was a huge Steelers fan", the woman said.

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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 confirmed that report Monday, according to the station.

ESPN reported that many Steelers were surprised and confused by Villanueva's isolation since he had said in Saturday's players-only meeting he didn't want to bring attention to himself. "Unfortunately, I threw [my teammates] under the bus, unintentionally".

Villanueva said that he had asked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger if he could stand with the captains in front of the team during the anthem, and that he turned back to look at this teammates as the anthem started.

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Villanueva continued, saying: "I made coach Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only".

At the first football game of the day in London, at least seven members of the Baltimore Ravens and more than a dozen Jacksonville Jaguars took a knee during the anthem as the other players stood with arms locked together. Roethlisberger and Heyward said the team will be on the sideline during future anthem presentations.

"Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself I feel embarrassed", Villanueva said. "I also look bad and that's my fault and my fault only".

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Protests during the national anthem began a year ago when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest the treatment of black Americans, especially by the police. Villanueva said the team "butchered" their attempt at, as he said, staying away from the situation.

Steelers' Alejandro Villanueva 'embarrassed' he stood alone for national anthem