Alejandro Villanueva’s jersey and merchandise has skyrocketed to tops of the league over the last 24 hours, per a report from ESPN.
Jeremy Fowler got the information from a spokesman from Fanatics, the NFL’s online store.
“A spokesman for Fanatics, which runs the NFL’s online store, confirmed to ESPN that, over the past 24 hours, more Villanueva gear, including jerseys and name and number T-shirts, has been ordered than for any other NFL player.”
Villanueva stood in front of the rest of the Steelers outside the tunnel, while the rest of the team remained inside on the edge, for the anthem. He, of course, served as an Army Ranger before ending his tour and resuming his football career.
Many are supporting Villanueva even more now after he appeared to, as David Todd put it on today’s Terrible Podcast, “break rank,” with the rest of the team.
Villanueva was reportedly unavailable for comment after Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears.
Teammates haven’t offered much of a comment on his decision and if the team knew his intentions. Ben Roethlisberger said he had no problem with Villanueva’s choice. James Harrison seemed to imply he didn’t know Villanueva was going to stand outside the tunnel.
“We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously,” Harrison said. “But, I guess we weren’t.”
Others, like Chris Hubbard, said Villanueva was “cool” with the Steelers’ decision to remain in the tunnel for the anthem. Clearly, we don’t know enough to comment on what exactly happened in the 48 hours prior to the game.
Either way, Villanueva is a guy who has tried to remain out of the limelight. Heck, he was downright sheepish during his contract talks. Now, he’s in the national spotlight.