Video: Alejandro Villanueva Addresses Anthem Questions

Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva held a press conference Monday afternoon and during it he made a few statements about what took place Sunday during the National Anthem ahead of the team’s game against the Chicago Bears. Villanueva then took questions from the media.

Villanueva really did a great job during his 15-plus minute talk, in my honest opinion, and while I attempt to transcribe what he said, below is video of his full press conference courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Villanueva Opening Statement:

This is humbling. Ok, I’ll first address sort of this the last 48-hours of events and what has transpired. This national anthem sort of ordeal has been out of control and I think there’s a lot to blame on myself and I want to address it. So, Saturday night, as you guys all know, there was a team meeting that was going to determine what is that we’re going to do as a team. Coach Tomlin gave us the guidance that we had to do it all as one, so 100% in whatever it is what we had to do. There was a disagreement in what we were going to do and the only course of action was to go inside and remove ourselves from the situation. It was never to disrespect the national anthem. Every single one of my teammates is extremely supportive and patriotic in this locker room and I cannot only say that for this locker room, I can say that across the NFL and every single player that I have gone against.

After the meeting, based on my unique circumstances and based the fact that I served in the Army and that pretty much that is my life is related to the military, I asked Ben [Roethlisberger] if there was a way to define the inside or where we going to stay and if I could watch the national anthem from the tunnel. He agreed. He said the captains would be out there right behind me and so this plan sort of morphed to accommodate this tough moral dilemma that I had in my hands to where the players could be behind me in the tunnel. Ben Roethlisberger said at 56, make sure you’re out there because the national anthem is going to start at 57. I walked out at 12:56. I asked one of the security guards when the national anthem was going to start and he said 20-seconds and so I just walked up and I stopped as soon as I saw the flag, as soon as I had a vantage point. That to me was enough. There was a flag that was coming in from one of the previous celebrations and when I turned around to sort of signal everybody else to come and so they wouldn’t leave me alone, then that’s when they were essentially unable to exit. At that moment, it was the decision of do you walk out of the national anthem and join your teammates, I know that would have looked extremely bad. Or as a team do you start moving halfway through the national anthem. So, essentially what we can get out of this is that we butchered our plan to sort of have a response for the national anthem and respect everyone’s opinions.

I would say that my personal thoughts about the situation is that regardless of this plan, very few players knew that I was going to the tunnel because I only asked the team leadership. And so because of that I did not give them an opportunity to stand with me during the national anthem. That is the very embarrassing part on my end in what transpires. Because when everybody sees an image of me standing by myself, everybody thinks that the team and the Steelers are not behind me and that’s absolutely wrong. It’s quite the opposite. Actually, the entire team would have been out there with me. Even the ones that wanted to take a knee would have been there with me had they known these extreme circumstances that at Soldier Field, at the heat of the moment, when I got soldiers, wounded veterans texting me that I have to be out there then I think everything would have been put aside from every single one of my teammates, no doubt. So, because of that, 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, my fault only. And I made the Steelers also look bad and that is my fault and my fault only.

So, unwillingly I’ve made a mistake and so I’ve talked to my teammates about the situation. Hopefully they understand it, if they don’t, I still have to live with it because the nature of this debate is causing a lot of very heated reactions from fans, from players, and it’s undeserving to all the players and coaches from this organization. And so with that, I’ll open up to any questions.

Question: Would you be ok if some of your teammates knelt, or sat in Baltimore this coming weekend?

Villanueva: Yeah, absolutely. There’s been players that have gone out of their way in the National Football League to thank me for my service. The arch rivals in the AFC North. Terrell Suggs, Michael Johnson, John Harbaugh, they’ve gone out of their way after a game to thank me for my service. And it’s not because of me, it’s because I’m a solider, I could be soldier x and they’re out there thanking me. Out of all these players in the NFL that are taking a knee, I don’t think as a veteran I take offense. In a big picture, we discuss in different things. Nobody thinks that when you’re taking a knee you’re offending the flag and they’re saying it and I don’t think anybody that is standing for the flag is not respecting and the fact that there’s a lot of injustices and racial divide in our country. So we are essentially talking about two different things, but the problem is that it’s interpreted as disrespectful to the flag and so at the end of the day people have to live with those consequences. Colin Kaepernick did and there’s a lot that can be said about his adventure of starting this process, but I take no offense. I don’t think veterans at the end of the day take any offense. They actually signed up and fought so that somebody could take a knee and protest peacefully whatever it is that their hearts desire.

Question: What did you express to your teammates Saturday night about the potential not being able to see the field?

Villanueva: There’s a lot of levels and there’s a lot of reasons why people join the Army, but at the end of the day it happens all the time and people die for the flag. There’s no way else to put it. When somebody is about to go on a mission, somebody is loading up to Chinook, somebody is ready to go. There is nothing else that is going to justify, other than the men to the left and right, dying for that mission. I wish I could stay home. I wish we could all play Call of Duty and not have to go to war. But, some men and some women sign up for this tough challenge and they have to do it for the flag. When I see a flag on a mission on the shoulder of a soldier, that reminds me that that guy is with me. It reminds me that I have to fight and lay my life down for him. Whether it’s in my unit, whether it’s Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to have a flag on your shoulder, I’m going to identify that and I’m fighting for each other. So, that’s what the flag means to me. That’s what the flag means to a lot of veterans. Wounded warriors that have no legs, that have shrapnel in their legs, they stand up and salute the national anthem, it means a lot to them, it means a lot to me and so I think my teammates respected this thoroughly. It was just not communicated and the plan did not allow them the chance to get out and support me or maybe go back to lab and sit five more hours before the game and figure out a plan. I thought we had to go to bed, work something in the middle and unfortunately, I threw them under the bus unintentionally.

Question: You have one of the highest selling jerseys in the NFl right now and people are treating you as a hero that stood up because of these pictures. What would you say to people that are trying to put you up there?

Villanueva: It’s completely wrong. And every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself I feel embarrassed to a degree, because again, like I said, unintentionally I left my teammates behind. It wasn’t me stepping forward. I never planned to boycott the plan that the Steelers came up with. I just thought there would be some middle-ground where I can stand in the tunnel, nobody would see me, and then afterwards I just wouldn’t talk to the media like I do all the time. I will avoid guys. I’ll shower and bring my clothes and never address you guys and two weeks later you guys would be talking about something else. And so I thought that was in my head that what was going to happen. Steelers don’t show up the national anthem, there’s a debate nationally about whether what’s right or wrong. Everything goes down, we go back to talking about North Korea, or the healthcare bill, and then we play the Baltimore Ravens and we forget about it. You guys know me for the guys that come into the locker room all the time, I hate attention. I don’t like it. I will give you clichés so you guys will leave me alone but when it comes to this, it’s a difficult situation and I don’t like the attention. And at the end of the day, the reason, whether I want it or not, whether it was my intended plan or not, the reason that I went out there by myself is the reason that is causing all of this distress and is making the organization look bad, my coach look bad, and my teammates look bad. And for anybody who thinks that Coach Tomlin is not as patriotic as you can get in America or anyone of my teammates or the owner, I take offense to that. So that is kind of how I feel when I see myself standing alone in the national anthem.

Question:  Do you think the President should apologize for calling NFL players derogatory names or for drawing you guys into this in the first place?

Villanueva: You guys do this for a living. You guys enjoy and you guys comment on what the President says. I play football. I don’t have anything to say about the Commander-in-Chief and his decisions. I’ve been following orders when I was in the military and now, I’m not responsible enough to make a comment about the president. I’ll just stick to football. I respect if other players want to talk about the president and his decisions, but I have a lot on my plate. I have to play to a standard. I have to represent the Steelers organization, so I have nothing to comment about what the president says.

Question:  What did you learn about how the country views this issue that can be divisive?

Villanueva: I’m going to give credit to coach [Mike] Munchak because he’s the one who kind of deciphered it for all of us. We’re not talking about the same thing. That’s the thing people need to understand when it comes to the national anthem. And I was one of the first ones who took offense when Colin Kaepernick took a knee. I was one of the first ones who did an interview, and to a certain degree, I never criticized him but I didn’t agree with it. What people don’t understand is that people who are taking a knee are not saying anything negative about the military. They’re not saying anything negative about the flag. They’re just trying to protest the fact that there are some injustices in America. And for people to stand up for the national anthem, it doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in these racial injustices. They’re just trying to do the right thing. So we as a team tried to figure it out, obviously butchered it. But I’ve learned that I don’t know what it’s like to be from Dade County, I don’t know what it’s like to be from Lakeland. I can’t tell you that I know what my teammates have gone through, so I’m not going to pretend like I have the righteous sort of voice to tell you that you should stand up for the national anthem. It is protected by our constitution and by our country. It’s freedom of speech. People felt that based on the comments that the president made, that they had to go out and protect and support Colin Kaepernick. And that’s completely in their right, but it’s not something we were trying to do with the Steelers. We were trying to be unified, and unfortunately, I made the team look sort of all over the place and not unified. So it’s just a very unfortunate sort of 48-hours for me.

Question:  Do you think you’ll be able to go back to the anonymity you seek?

Villanueva: I’m always going to stand up for the national anthem. Coach Tomlin could’ve picked any other tackle in the NFL to develop and turn into a starting left tackle. I have to be real with myself and understand that the reason why I’m playing here, the reason the Steelers got me here is because I served in the military and they saw something in that story that attracted them. Because the Philadelphia Eagles cut me, and I was the first player to be cut in Philadelphia. The only person to call me was Coach Tomlin. So I don’t know. To a certain degree, I really don’t care. I can’t go out there and either pick you up if you’re taking a knee or make you put you hand on your heart or sing the national anthem. I really don’t care. I’m going to stand up for the national anthem. I’ll support all my teammates. All my teammates have always supported me. All my coaches have always supported me. There are 32 teams out there and I got cut from Philadelphia and the only one to call me was Mike Tomlin and it was because he saw some character traits that might help me become a future starter. And he did and so for me, I’m not going to control that. If the whole NFL wants to kneel down, stand up, go to the Army Navy store and buy uniforms, it doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to play football.

Question:  Can you share what your teammates have said to you over the last 24 hours, and do you think in some strange way this has this brought the team even closer together?

Villanueva: I would say this, the team meeting that we had on Saturday night brought the whole team together. Absolutely, it really did. We had great conversations between people that felt some type of way, and we completely understood that everything that was going on outside the building was not in our control and we were going to do something together. Unfortunately, I felt the pressure of having to find some middle-ground so I could at least be in the national anthem. My teammates wanted to do that. It got butchered because of this flag thing. Maybe and hopefully if this is a really a big deal, they’ll find videos of people as they were bringing out the flag, you’ll be able to tell they could not leave the locker room. But how would you feel if you were a player, I’m not going to name them, but I would say almost all of them, I couldn’t even tell you who was going to take a knee. But all my teammates wanted to stand up for the national anthem. They did not want this to be a distraction at all. Their first course of action was to go out there and stand up, but in order to remove any doubt of last second, we decided to stay away from the situation. Not protest it, but stay away from the situation. And how would you feel if you were somebody who really wants to go out there and stand up for the national anthem and you didn’t know that there was a player that was going to stand up there in the tunnel and see it from a vantage point? I would be really pissed because now he’s getting all the heat. Obviously, I don’t have social media but they have social media, and they’re getting negative feedback because they didn’t stand up for the national anthem when in reality, they would’ve done it. They were fighting to stand up for the national anthem. Everybody on the offensive line was very advocate about just standing up for the national anthem. Who cares? We understand there’s a lot of problems out there. But I didn’t give them a chance based on the fact that I told very few people, that there were going to be a selective few that I was going to go out there and we were just trying to come up with a middle-ground plan so that I would at least get to see the national anthem, some other players would, but if you have a different type of views, that you could stay in the locker room.

  • RMSteeler

    I wish that the permission was given in front of everyone instead of at the last minute by Ben and Cam. But they spoke for the team. And nothing else matters.

  • RMSteeler

    With no apology for what he did, but for lack of communication for all. He saw his men and friends die. Only combat vet in NFL. He can do whatever the f**k he wants to do.

  • steelburg

    He in part confirmed what I said earlier that it went against what the team had discussed. He asked a couple of leaders last minute instead of bringing it up during the team meeting where all the guys as he says would have been in support of him and stood with him. He is 100 percent right that it made the coach and team look bad. But I still don’t think guys were upset that he did what he did just more bothered that he didn’t communicate what he wanted to do with everyone.

  • LucasY59

    cant watch the video right now, but I am glad Al gets to speak for himself on this issue

  • MDSteelerfan

    100% class from Al. This will dispel all the false narratives about who did what and why.

  • cencalsteeler

    Great interview! I will say, I hope if anything is learned here, is how much media can twist things and manipulate peoples opinions and or actions. Much respect AV, now let’s put it to bed!

  • Chad H

    Yes he can he earned the right!

  • steelburg

    I disagree. The team made a plan that was AV sensitive. They went out of there way which was exactly what the should have done knowing AV’s background and he didn’t speak up until the very last minute. AV even said himself that had all known about it they would have supported him and stood with him. He basically took other players options away with what he did IMO.

  • NinjaMountie

    Accountability…whether he earned it or not he has taken the blame for the team. Leadership and selflessness. Someone should put a C on his chest and let him do the media interviews from now on.

  • Steeldog22

    And as expected from the Ranger, he jumps on the grenade to save his comrades.

  • Delboka

    I guess the game plan wasn’t the only thing poorly exicuted.

  • Jaybird

    What a classy , humble man.

  • John Noh

    This is a real man. God bless you, Capt. Al.

  • 太阳三联

    Need to upgrade his position.

  • T R

    actually he didnt earn the right to go against the plan. but he owned up to it. If a man dont have his word he doesnt have anything. but no one is perfect and folks make mistakes. although its not at life treating.. its just like if you in military and u giving a order, u follow the order whether how u feel about it or not. he had his opportunity saturday night to change that order as team.

  • T R

    but he was also the one who pull the pin of the grenade.

  • RMSteeler

    It should have been resolved for Al the night before. I don’t know why it took to the last minute. He apologized for that lack of communication.

  • JNick

    They had a 15 minute team meeting. Maybe he needed more than 15 minutes to process his thoughts…

  • pittfan

    That’s a high character guy.

  • kakello34

    Look up Officer Brandon Tatum’s video on why players need to quit this trendy behavior.

  • RMSteeler

    I don’t think there was an order, there was an understanding that apparently was not fully understood by all. Whatever that was, Ben and Cam made the final decision for the team. That’s all that mattered.

  • JT

    The growth he shows here is huge to me. He had an initial opinion about all this nonsense back at the beginning. But through his own character, and teachings of the organization, he was able to open his mind and grow as a person to accept perspectives different from his own. A lot of people can learn from that.

  • JNick

    Let him do Tomlins presser tomorrow

  • John Noh

    I respect him even more after listening to his comments including deftly handling the gotcha question from one of the douchenozzle reporters who was trying hard to get AV to badmouth the POTUS.

  • T R

    and just like Ben lately. executing the plan wrong, and doing audible to a pass play when run was called. LOL

  • Thomas

    that video is inaudible 😐

  • JT

    Great point. Guy is out here humbling himself and they’re digging for headlines and quotes. Disappointing.

  • NinjaMountie

    The problem is never crap happening, because it always does. It’s about how you deal with it that determines the outcome.

  • RMSteeler

    True. Like another article stated. There was maybe more fumbling in this than the game. I’m retired Army. I used to hire guys like Al for Special Forces. No one will every hear there stories. I’m glad Al is in the NFL to give his perspective.

  • T R

    very true

  • Michael Conrad

    I like AV and respect his service to our country. I hope this mess gets over with fast . Lets remember Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police brutality. These clowns are taking a knee because someone they don’t like called them out for doing it. They are kneeling for what? This is like when protesters show up and when asked what the protest is about they have different answers. Colin right or wrong had a reason to kneel and worth taking a look at. This is just a tweet from a guy who likes to poke the dog.

  • John Noh

    Sadly it’s par for the course in journalism today with too many of these types thinking they’re writing for TMZ or something. I really hope that wasn’t one of the long-time beat reporters.

  • RMSteeler

    He saw more “crap” than any man/woman should.

  • pittfan

    Check out the one where the President of BLM NY was invited to address the Trump rally in DC this weekend.

  • pittfan

    +1,000

  • RMSteeler

    I liked the comment that asked Kap where he played Sunday.

  • Ike Evans

    what a s**t show this all was

  • Dan

    Probably no member of the team has less to apologize for than him, but certainly was classy that he did. Great to see an explanation for how things unfolded, but still disappointed in the team to cower in the locker room during the anthem and away from tackling responsibilities during the game.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Please, please listen to how he feels about kneeling to the flag!

  • Michael Mosgrove

    sounded like tim benz to me from neal’s other site.

  • Chad H

    He is a Army Ranger who’s buddies died in his arms. He can do what he wants to honor his country. Anything and everything outside of what he did doesn’t matter. If a bunch of kids in a locker room can’t figure that out. Then that is on them. Everything that team does is small compared to what he did for his country.

  • Michael Martin

    Love the Kurzgesagt shirt. AV is the man.

  • Katie

    This is sad. I can’t believe an Army Veteran has to explain his standing for the national anthem on the Soldier Field. It was really disrespectful for the team to hide inside for the national anthem. Who thought that was a good idea? If you wanted to stand up to Trump. If hating Trump means more to you than America or the many service members who have died for America, then ignoring him would have undermined his power. Instead, they are doing exactly what the President wanted. A huge fuss to distract from the healthcare debacle. Trump says “Jump.” And his SJW puppets say, ” How high? ” If you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything. Sadly, these players could not stand for America with arms linked in unity so this PR disaster

  • walter

    Kaepernick must feel vindicated.

  • budabar

    Sounds like a$$ covering time, if there was no real problem the whole team would be out there not just 1 player these guys turned into the biggest A$$es in the league

  • Michael Mosgrove

    they had the 2 team captains and the person it was centered around. mike tomlin and art rooney had interviews about it yesterday. thats enough coverage.

  • Jimbo

    A veteran standing for the national anthem needs not defend his actions..I salute you AV..god bless america

  • budabar

    Apparently not

  • Matt Manzo

    I love his transparency!

  • capehouse

    Wow what a mess.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Also listen to Gregg Popovich’s comments.

  • DoctorNoah

    That kinda settles it for me. Honestly, thousands of Americans have died for the freedom to protest peacefully and take a knee during the anthem. Big Al acknowledged that. I have zero issues with the way the team handled it.

  • nutty32

    Think he’s apologizing for putting his mates and coach on the spot, obviously. He turned their intent to be apolitical into the most political possible. He made others who wanted to stand look like cowards and lose sleep and write a blog post ~Lol.

  • JT

    Good response. But I doubt people will actually watch the video or comprehend his comments. They already have their narrative.

  • John

    Finally got to view this. I couldn’t stand in his shoes. How about you?

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    saw the video of Big Al. I have had all day to digest and read other opinions on this matter. I want to point out two huge points of emphasis. The first, is Big ALs interview was good to hear, but obviously it was back tracking. He obviously felt pressure from someone or some people to make th is right.

    How could he not know he was outside the tunnel for example, and two how could he not know he wasnt near his large in stature teammates.

    2… anyone else see the Hypocrisy in Mike Tomlins actions and words? He says that he didnt want this to divide his team, and was physically upset over it in post presser at Big V I feel, but he was on the SIDELINE standing to attention DURING the anthem. Some Steelers fans have noticed this and are calling for his firing.

    Just another thought, these protest this weekend were about player egos, and they put their ego over a symbolic form of patriotism. Steeler fans of 50 years are literally burning there Steeler gear on fire on you tube

  • nutty32

    Tomlin is a part of “management,” so let’s get real.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    what does that have to do with the price of tea in china

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    Ron cook called him out on it as well

  • nutty32

    When you become part of management, you’ll find out. Try not to kill yourself or make your wife divorce you during the God awful “middle manager” phase.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    Dont get me wrong i have never said one bafd thing about Tomlin. I actually liked him in many ways. But he tottally F’d this one up optically and leading wise

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    we have to agree to disagree i guess.

  • nutty32

    lol media. Do you see anyone representing management ever do anything that can be taken as disrespecting the flag?

  • The problem this isn’t front page news. All the people who want to push their narrative won’t care to see or read this.

    Just like all those retraction articles on page 20 that nobody sees of the local news paper the disproves yesterdays front page eye popper.

  • He’ll get an honorary C this week I bet and be voted one next season.

  • It’s on the Steelers official web site too.

  • Nobody ever care about the retraction pieces on page 20…

  • Does AV make the pro bowl this year? Maybe his play won’t make him deserving as he is off to a slow start as well as the entire offense/team. But when voters look at the ballot, will they’ll recognize his name and click the box?

  • 6 ring circus

    The fallout from acquiring Mike Vick seems so long ago. The same Yinzers who came back after that failed debacle will be back after this thing blows over. Thrown in a deep playoff run and they will be back in droves. Let’s get back to x’s and o’s and w’s and L’s.

  • nutty32

    Start with the CBA and what that means, for one. MT don’t care about any of this political ish. He wants his players to stick together. Where’s the “hypocrisy?” He didn’t order them to stay inside. Just to stick together and be ready to play football together; you know, just coaching the team. I’m sorry if that doesn’t meet Ron Cook’s high standards as a pencil pusher.

  • Bill

    I’m sick of hearing about what he did was back tracking on his teammates! What he did was what he had to do based on his background. Army Rangers don’t turn their back on the anthem or the flag. If his teammates or anybody else wish to chastise him for it, so be it. He did what his conscience said he had to to do. The players think their camaraderie is strong but believe me, it pales when compared to that of a front line military unit such as the Rangers. He really owes no one an apology!

  • Pepper

    So, it took a day for him to be told to admit he made a mistake.
    Not coerced much no, not at all.

    With all due respect to the team, he like millions of Americans before him is more deserving than all of the NFL players who did not serve, nor will ever serve their Country, if in fact they have a Country in their hearts.

    For shame, your petty cravenness will not soon be forgotten by the insignificant fans who you let down.
    Free speech, wrong venue.

    Villanueva, you are a Ranger, an officer, and a soldier. Lead, follow, or lay down, but you represent more than a cheap jersey.

  • Steeler4EverNoMore

    well it doesnt meet my standard either. He should have led by example and stay with his team/family

  • francesco

    The fault is really on Tomlin in asking for 100% all in or all out.
    Let each player decide on their own and have them own up to whatever decision each player makes.

  • Pepper

    You are not the military, not a soldier and not capable of understanding the disappointment of largest American Fraternal Association and the honor to be called Sailor, Soldier, or Marine. The NFL no longer has the untarnished respect of the fans. You are sullied.

  • nutty32

    You don’t think that that would then be the story and cause a huge distraction of its own. Rom Cook is not dealing in realized.

  • LOL, let’s blame Tomlin for a players only decision. You either didn’t read the article or watch the press conference. The whole point was to protect everyone’s opinion, whether they wanted to stand, kneel or sit. They didn’t come out so you know don’t know who wanted to do what. If not for AV, the mission would have been accomplished. Unfortunately, he ended up being the unintended poster boy.

    You really are f-ing clueless…

  • dany

    Good for Al, now can he start playing better once this boils over?

  • Rob

    I’m thankful that AV was able to clearly answer a question that I’ve had from the beginning of this protest: Why are people arguing that this is disrespectful to army veterans?

    He explains, to my understanding, that in war you fight for the flag. I suppose this is where I believe my disagreement comes from. Fighting for a flag or a country, as opposed to the values it upholds, is something that I’m not sure is the best way to go about things. Depending on the president, that flag could mean going to war for no reason at all. But values of freedom and equal opportunity should be unchanging. Feel free to disagree, as I’m sure some will, but that is just my personal take.

    As a fun/historical sidebar, here are some actual infractions of the American flag according to the Flag code carried out regularly with no chagrin or widespread anger (the first is done every NFL game!):

    (c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
    (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.
    (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. (Like in political campaigns, maybe?)

    Failing to stand is not listed as a potential form of disrespect according to this code.

    I’ll try to stay away from too much more political/social discourse here, as hard as it may be..looking forward to more Steelers football

  • francesco

    I heard what AV had to say.
    And what i heard is that a consensus was not reached whether for or against standing or kneeling. You should know that 100% all in was never going to be possible. Tomlin was aking for the impossible.
    You are the one that is really clueless.

  • Zarbor

    The only thing that is sad is folks like you and your ignorant comments. AV only has to explain because of ignorant people who don’t want to get something so simple. Proud of the Steelers and what they stand for. Proud of AV and Munch explaining how ignorant people twist simple things to create chaos and controversy. Keep the politics out of sports.

  • Zarbor

    Yup but lets make it clear it wasn’t intentional either. Today was a sad sad day for Steeler Nation. As proud as I am of the team for what they were trying to do, though they botched the execution, I was thoroughly disgusted by the responses of many many “so called” Steelers fans.

    I’ve always had love for Steeler Nation but loss a lot of respect for many and wish many of these phonies would leave Steeler Nation forever as they’ve stated. The hate and vitriol towards Ben, Tomlin, Rooneys, the entire team and anyone who supported them even now still after the full explanation by these men is beyond appalling. These people are disgusting and everything that is wrong in this great country of ours.

    Way too many FB, internet and Twitter thugs

  • Zarbor

    This is why people who are quick to become angry without knowing any details and make assumptions look real stupid after the facts come out. Well, lets be honest, in this current environment facts don’t matter to most of these clowns.

    Never would I believe I would say this but kudos to the Dallas Cowboys who figured it out. AV said it but the Cowboys did. Can’t believe it took this long for people to understand two separate legitimate issues.

  • nutty32

    I wonder if Villy is pro or against our invasion of Iraq and continued occupation of Afghanistan as well as our seemingly growing involvement in Libya. He’s no longer a solider so no longer charged with simply taking orders. He’s a civilian with a strong attachment to the war industry and has first hand experience. His opinion would be very interesting. Being a non-muanced flag guardian is the easy part. Perhaps he should also take on the role of citizen as well.

  • Bryan Ischo

    The team is trying to get past this useless controversy. Why won’t you let them? Just accept their story and apology, and move on. Stop trying to extend this shitfest with your disbelief.

  • Bryan Ischo

    I sure hope not. Does politics and hero worship really have to soak into every possible nook and cranny of the NFL?

  • Bryan Ischo

    Exactly, no consensus reached so they decided to just stay out of it altogether, which I think is actually quite smart. Nothing impossible about it.

    All of this whining and gnashing of teeth over a freaking VOLUNTARY DISPLAY is just ridiculous. If every person in the entire country stood for a full 10 minutes staring at the flag and crying bitter tears about the sacrifices of soldiers, it would not do a SINGLE REAL THING to help any soldier in any actual way.

    People just try so hard to be offended on other people’s behalfs, it’s silly. Let the soldiers decide if they’re offended, it’s not your job to be offended for them.

    And guess what – AV is not offended by people who don’t stand for the national anthem! He said it himself!

  • Rocksolid20

    Hopefully W’s .

  • Rocksolid20

    Watch for him to land in the Tomlin doghouse .

  • reddickranch@msn.com

    That POS Tomlin forced him him to speak on why he didn’t stay with the sheep!

  • NinjaMountie

    I think he’s taken on the role as citizen quite well.

  • NinjaMountie

    Some of these people are cracking me up. They say AV is a war hero, brave for breaking from the team and standing for his beliefs. Then he comes out and admits he may have inadvertently caused an issue that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. Now those people claiming he is scared and being forced by Tomlin to take the blame.
    Guess what, there is another scenario. Maybe, just maybe AV is telling the truth. WOW….go figure.

  • nutty32

    Me too. Just interested in hearing more. Some of the most interesting things I’ve ever heard came from chats with Vietnam vets. They have a lot to add, IMO.

  • Vic

    The Steelers just can’t seem to get any plan right these days

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not sure why someone would need permission for the anthem, has nothing to do with football or the team, its stupid.

  • LabRat0116

    Because he works for a franchise….like McDonald’s.

  • SportsBall Is My Life

    Looks like a North Korean hostage video.
    Did anyone notice if he was blinking in Morse code??

  • DirtDawg1964

    AV for President. Totally nailed it. 1000x more class than the guy who currently occupies the spot. And heads above some of the posters here. This is exactly why men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

  • Richard Edlin

    Yes – God forbid that the guy’s trying to navigate a difficult situation and misstepped slightly. (Real life doesn’t fit well into a simplistic narrative in which you either fetishise linen or are an unpatriotic savage.)

  • mape_ape

    Can the Steelers get their story straight? Everyone is telling is a different version of what happened. Foster said he had permission to go put their, implying everyone knew what he was doing.

    Now it’s being reported everywhere that he regrets standing for the anthem.

    I’m pretty tired of this crap.

  • mape_ape

    Wait, so players don’t need to earn the right to protest the anthem, but AV hasn’t earned the right to protest the protest?

  • Coach was asking for solidarity and unity from his men. That is not too much to ask for, you just like blaming him where ever possible.

  • francesco

    I’m not blaming Tomlin in a harsh sense. Just that his demand was not going to be possible with any good results. Either you demand that all stand or demand you stay away. Leaving it up to the players was asking for chaos. And that’s what resulted…Confusion.

  • steelburg

    I agree it should have been resolved the night before. Was just poor communication by all involved.

  • steelburg

    It was just poor communication by all involved. Let’s just leave it at that because the he slept on it all night and could have changed the plan.

  • steelburg

    I 100 percent agree with you.

  • JNick

    It’s an absolute embarrassment to the team and the organization that an Army Vet had to go in front of the media and apologize for being apart of the national anthem. One of the highest character guys on the team being relegated to this. Tomlin, Ben, Cam, whoever else made these decisions should be ashamed.

  • From what AV said, they were all on the same page until the very last moment…

  • tequila0341

    Yeah, that’s not what Al said. But since you know him better than he does, I’m sure you’re qualified to speak for him.

  • tequila0341

    Look at all these cops now trying to become Youtube stars. Remarkable.

  • tequila0341

    Of all the dumb arguments in this thread, this might just take the cake. Congrats.

  • tequila0341

    If you honestly think Big Al would be so easily cowed (especially a guy who just signed a long-term contract), you really have no respect for him.

  • tequila0341

    Wow. You people really turned on him that fast, huh? You think he’s that much of a coward?

  • tequila0341

    Why don’t you just watch what he said?

  • steelburg

    I’m sure they didn’t make him do that. He probably wanted to explain the situation himself. He said what he wanted to say and now it’s time to move on.

  • JNick

    I didn’t say they made him do it. He probably said he would, but that doesn’t stop the team from saying no, we’re not going to let you take the blame.

  • JNick

    I did not say he said that. Learn to read. At some point the leadership of the team can simply tell him no, and go out and own up to the debacle without an Army Vet aplogizing and taking the blame. Its a disgrace.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Lol best comment

  • Jeff Papiernik

    The media can twist things into their own narrative? That’s just crazy talk lol

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Exactly, if they just went out there like they normally do and just stand for the flag, this whole situation is avoided. They tried to get cute by tiptoeing this fine line of being united, showing that they disapprove of the President’s comments, and still honoring the flag. And boy, did they butcher it.

  • PA native in VA

    Villanueva you have absolutely NOTHING to apologize for or be embarrassed about. Why didn’t the others join you at 12:56? Even if they didn’t know you were going to walk to the end of the tunnel, why didn’t they join you when they saw you even if it was halfway through the anthem? No one had the courage to come forward at any point during the anthem, not one. The team should be apologizing to you and to all of Steeler Nation for their lack of courage and conviction to stand for the flag and anthem with you. Why was there even a need for a discussion ? Its respect for the country and all the served and sacrificed. Are the NFL players so thin skinned that they have to react to the passionate rants of one man? Yeah he is the President, but he is still just a man. You should have all just said, forget what Donald Trump says, this is respect for this country and our fans, we stand, hands over our hearts for this country and all it has blessed us with. And maybe the team should be more worried about how poorly they have been playing and less about the politic environment meant to divide us. Stand strong Villy, Steeler Nation is supporting you 100!!! I am among many others who have bought your jersey to support you and your character.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    What a shame that this has led to a fine person like Big Al having to step out of his comfort zone to answer questions related to team unity.
    He is, in every sense of the word, collateral damage in this mess.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Yes not for illy understood is a great way to put it.
    I think it’s easy to forget that this has been an incredibly fluid situation and is out of everybody’s comfort zone.

  • LucasY59

    watched it last night, pretty much expected him to say everything he said, I am glad the team was behind him and willing to stand with him (but for sake of avoiding this distraction, wish that they had chose to do so) still have lots of respect for AV, humble of him to admit it was wrong to not be 100% with his team, but also able to explain why he did what he did

  • mape_ape

    I did. I watched him virtue signal with everything he had.

    That doesn’t the fact that this is a PR nightmare of their own making with several versions of what actually happened

  • Paul Rainey

    Thank you Al for being a Steeler this fan can be proud of. Once again you sacrifice to take the heat off of your teammates. I am not buying it though as those losers could have easily walked up behind you to have your back, but because they are all losers they chose to hang back and leave you hung out to dry. As a 70 yesr Steeler fan I am out but I’m here to tell you I’m proud of you.