This Sunday was Armageddon for the Nation Football League, as dozens of players knelt down during the National Anthem to protest President Trump’s comments calling out their childish and impudent behavior.
The rampant politicalization was already a huge problem for the league, causing a startling downturn in viewership, but this latest stunt is sure to see long-time supporters changing the channel. While most of the attention was focused on the “activist” athletes, one Pittsburgh Steelers’ player, and former Army Ranger, defied his team’s decision to protest and stood proud, saluting the flag during the anthem.
As reported by the Daily Mail, to absolutely no one’s surprise, Alejandro Villanueva, the combat veteran and left tackle for the Steelers, has seen his stock rise sharply in the eyes of the public. As his jersey is flying off the shelf thanks to his own patriotic protest.
In less than a day, Villanueva’s jerseys were the No. 1 seller in the men’s and women’s categories on both Fanatics.com and NFLshop.com. It’s the No. 2 youth jersey on both sites. Which is saying something, considering he’s a linesman, which are the least heralded/popular positions on the field.
The Steelers’ players apparently had a big discussion about the president’s comments and came to an agreement, not unanimous, that they’d all stay in the locker room during the anthem.
But sometime during pregame, Villanueva walked to the edge of the tunnel to pay his respects to our nation and his military comrades.
His actions apparently surprised his coaches and teammates, who were aware of his service and disagreement beforehand.
Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin spoke after the game, expressing anger over Villanueva’s actions. “Like I said, I was looking for 100 per cent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said after his team’s defeat to the Bears.
The coach paradoxically said, “We’re not going to play politics. We’re football players, we’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today – not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance.”
He added: “People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides.
If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. But when we come out of locker rooms, we come out of locker rooms to play football games.”
It would be nice is Tomlin’s claim about not playing politics was true, but it’s obviously not. The guy had no problem with players protesting up to this point, saying it’s fine for them to follow their conscience, but all of a sudden he’s changing his tune.
The second he allowed his players to make their protest, he waded in the middle of this political battlefield, and he knows it. Playing dumb and being disingenuous isn’t fooling anyone. The NFL and many players and teams have taken it upon themselves to be purveyors of left-wing ideology, which is their prerogative.
It’s about time they stop being hypocrites and reciprocate when players have opposing views or when supporters no longer care to consume their dying product. If they want to keep shoving liberal politics down our throats, fine, but don’t cry when the primary consumers of your product takes their money and attention elsewhere.
Source: Daily Mail