Villanueva Donates All Proceeds Of NFL Merchandise Sales To Military Non-Profits

Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva has unwillingly been in the national media spotlight the last several days thanks to him being out front of the rest of his teammates during Sundays pregame national anthem. Since that happened, the former Army captain’s merchandise has reportedly been flying off the internet shelves and that in turn will reportedly help out several non-profit organizations.

In case you didn’t already know it, NFL players receive proceeds from their jersey and apparel retail sales and according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Villanueva is donating all his proceeds to USO and other military non-profits, just as he’s always done.

During his Monday press conference in which he talked openly about what happened during the Sunday pregame National Anthem, Villanueva was told that he currently has one of the highest selling jerseys in the NFL right now and that some people are treating him as a hero. He was essentially asked what he thinks about those people putting him up on a proverbial pedestal right now following what transpired ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears and because of certain pictures of him being out front of his teammates are circulating.

“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,” Villanueva said. “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.”

The Steelers starting left tackle, who signed a four year contract worth $24 million this past July, went on to talk about how he’s not currently a fan of all the attention he’s receiving from the media.

“You guys know me for the guys that come into the locker room all the time, I hate attention,” Villanueva said. “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 [Mike] 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.”

As things turn out, according to not only Villanueva, but several other of his teammates and head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers tackle was accidentally separated from the rest of his teammates just seconds before the National Anthem started.

“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,” Villanueva said Monday. “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 [12]:56, make sure you’re out there because the national anthem is going to start at [12]: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.”



    what a champ

  • Lil Smitty

    With all the attention he has been getting this week from National media, he will get the fan vote for the Pro-bowl.

  • The Tony

    Class act

  • pittfan

    Now I’m even happier I bought the jersey. Humble people never see themselves as heros.

  • Gautama Om

    Makes me proud to be a vet.

  • Kick

    Why hasn’t steelersdepot reported on the the official letter the team has released?

  • PaeperCup

    I want a plush AV to hold at night….wait, what?

  • PaeperCup

    He’s not even playing that well so far. Love the guy though

  • Lil Smitty

    When it comes to Offensive lineman, they usually get voted in several years after the deserved it and stay an All-Pro a few years longer than they deserved to be. With all the attention on Al, unless he gives up a bunch of sacks, he would be popular enough to be voted in to the Pro-bowl.
    I am assuming that fan voting carries at least 40% of the decision to whom gets in the Pro-bowl.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    I wasn’t upset with how the Steelers handled things last weekend (other than the game itself), but big Al is a class act. Just a great guy.

  • Dan

    Lost in the political nonsense is the fact that Al is just a really good guy.

  • John Noh

    I read a lot of numbskulls rip AV for explaining what happened during the anthem and threatening to return the jerseys they bought. They should. They don’t deserve to wear it and AV does not deserve to be represented by their kind. I for one will be proud to wear his jersey when I enter Heinz Field for the Jaguars game.

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán

    True, but sadly it won’t clean The Steelers image at least for The moment.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Every Steeler should be like AV. Much respect and admiration for being genuine, humble, and for obviously being good person.

  • RMSteeler

    I knew he would give those funds away. I didn’t know that he already did. He’s a soldier’s soldier. Thank you sir!

  • nikki stephens

    Thank you Big Al. You’re a hero and inspiration.

  • Jaybird

    Don’t limit it to just the Steelers, everyone person in this country should try to emulate AV.

  • Troy Gurreri

    This humble man is what makes Steelers Nation. I am so proud at what he has done helping everyone who served our country. God Bless him. He is exactly what makes us feel great in this time of need and uncertainty. Thank you Al you are a great asset to the Steeler Nation and and it’s organization it makes me feel lucky to be one of the Steelers family!

  • Dan

    Ah, the patriotic bromance is really on a roll, eh?

  • Dan

    Curious if anyone knows how much money NFL players make from merchandise sales. Can’t find much detail online other than all players get an equal share from NFL licensed merchandise. So all players are making a little off of AV’s jerseys, even Kaepernick (unless he’s excluded as an unsigned player). But if a jersey is sold at $200, is the royalty share to players like $20? Divided accross 1800 players, so like 1¢ for AV and every other player?

  • Bradys_Dad

    To me, Al is the role model that kids need today.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I’ve got no problem with that. 🙂 Al is a good human being, period.

  • afrazier9

    I am so ready to move on from this. I love AL and the steelers for what they have tried to accomplish. I’m so offended by the lack of compassion from the people who have burned jersey used racial slurs and bashed the players for what they have done. I am a black man who has served this country and I am so upset at the American people for how they have handled this topic. If you don’t understand what the players are trying to do then please don’t comment or bash.

  • afrazier9

    One more thing to add is we let trump tear this country apart, and no one has spoken about that. He has made everything about him, and has even taken credit for turning every one against the nfl. No one speaks about the rich politicians who sit one Capitol Hill, and make rediculus money. Our troops come home and get nothing for putting their life’s on the line to protect our civil freedoms. They struggle in life every day with stress from serving the country loosing body parts and even family because they are deployed for years at a time so the fat cats can get fatter making money from war. I served myself and I have so much anger against the couch potatoes who claim to care and cry about stupid stuff while we struggle to just get up and deal with being home. Let sports and politics stay separate, and leave us out of this we deserve it. Also as the wizard of oz said don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain

  • Ralph Wagner

    Mr Alejandro Villanueva had better play a good game Sunday and lead the offense . The offense needs a leader in the worse way. Roethlisberger is not that guy. Additionally the media will be focusing on every thing AV does. That you can count on.

    The whole team is a mess right now.

    Go Steelers

  • pittfan

    Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II issued the following letter to Steelers fans on Tuesday.

    To Steelers Nation:

    I want to reach out to you, the members of Steelers Nation, based on what I believe is a misperception about our players’ intentions in not taking the field for the national anthem in Chicago. The intentions of Steelers players were to stay out of the business of making political statement by not taking the field. Unfortunately, that was interpreted as a boycott of the anthem — which was never our players’ intention.

    Our players come from many different backgrounds and are united by what it means to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are active in their communities and participate regularly in events designated to give back to those communities. And they appreciate the support they get from Steelers fans around the country and here at home.

    I also know that our players have tremendous respect for the members of our military services, including their teammate Alejandro Villanueva. There was never any desire on the part of our players to show disrespect for our service members.

    Yesterday, I received an email from a Steelers fan who said tell the players to just play football. That is exactly what they wanted to do. They wanted their sole focus to be on playing the game, while also coming together as a unified team.

    The main thing we can do is learn from this and strive to come together remaining unified as a football team. I believe we are capable of accomplishing this with the support of our fans.

    Steelers Nation is made up of the best fans in the National Football League. We appreciate your continued support for our players, coaches and staff.


    Art Rooney II

  • Rye Stye

    Forget the Steeler’s image, how about the image of the fans who are now burning Steeler’s gear because they fail to appreciate what the whole protest was about? Not just the Steeler’s protest, the whole league basically. All the teams with white, black and hispanic players united in one message telling the President that the people have a right to demand equal treatment for all citizens and to call attention to the fact that racism still exists and is still a problem in America. Then you have a Fire Chief calling Tomlin a no good ni**** to exemplify the very thing the league and its multi-cultural players wanted to bring attention to. I am proud of the Steeler’s players and the league in sending a message to the President that he has over-stepped his bounds. I am not proud of the segment of Steeler’s nation that is not intelligent enough to understand what has occurred and who maintain hateful and racist attitudes in their hearts. To those I say good riddance and don’t come back. You don’t deserve to cheer for a team of the moral quality that the Steeler’s organization possesses.

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán

    What can I say to you?, I am Mexican and your President practically based his campaign trashing us and keep it going on.
    I absolutely admire you American citizens for your nacionalism thats why It felt wrong not to have The team in The Field, but certainly Unity is What makes a great country. Hope it all ends Well.
    We certainly have a lot of problems in our own Country Mexico.

  • Addison

    When I grow up I want to be Alejandro Villanueva. This is what a true American is

  • LucasY59

    again, so much respect for this Man

  • LucasY59

    I made a comment on the post about his jersey sales spike and said it was kinda weird since most of the people buying them are anti NFL right now and the sales (for the most part) benefit the league, I am glad AV got the extension/payday he did this offseason, and it shows he deserved it when he is generous with the extra $ and isnt all about getting rich

  • I4giveSteelers

    I saw that

  • LucasY59

    I know there are people out there that are claiming all of this is unpatriotic (I would like to see a better way to protest, but believe the Freedoms that our soldiers have fought for are important as well) and are threatening to boycott the NFL (especially on Nov. 12th) but the NFL has been doing the Salute to Service stuff for quite awhile now and even though it makes the league more $ from special merchandise it also donates a lot to military charities

    I would really like to see the salute to service jersey have Villanueva’s name and # on it this yr and I will buy one if there is

  • jmw_123

    NFL does the salute the service stuff as you call if for quite a while because they have been paid millions to do so. They do nothing out of the goodness of their hearts it seems.

  • LucasY59

    I never said they do it out of the goodness of their hearts, I said it is a marketing thing that makes them more $, BUT it does donate some of that to Military organizations, so there is still some benefit to the Veterans of our country

  • capehouse

    I know the Pro Bowl is wacky sometimes but you gotta give the voters more credit than that. AV is giving up a sack a game so far this year. He’s playing terrible. Great players make the Pro Bowl not great people. C’mon.

  • pittfan

    If they want to protest alleged injustices from certain police departments and ruling courts, the better way to do that would be on the doorsteps of those institutions. I believe the assertion that this is not “intended” to be a protest of our military but it is seen as such by current and former military and Gold Star families. The fact that the father of this current protest wore a fidel castro shirt and socks with police officers portrayed as pigs didn’t help either.

  • LucasY59

    I agree that the protest has been poorly done (and the President only made things worse)

  • pittfan

    No, his poor choice of words stirred the pot. I’m a supporter when I think he’s right and not afraid to say it when I think he’s wrong. I do believe the NFL should adopt a rule regarding conduct during the anthem if it is going to be a part of their product presentation. But in its absence, the players can’t be fired for doing what they are doing. JMHO

  • Sal Grilli

    The decision to sit out the anthem was wrong to begin with. As a vet you know, choosing to protest during the anthem is a very poor choice as well. For Gods sake ccan we not get the message through to the players, they are trampling a venue that protects them ?

  • Sal Grilli

    By allowing your team to sit out the National Anthem your coach and staff have chosen the wrong path. What choice have you given us, Veterans ? You sir have smacked us, and unfortunately we are not going to turn the other cheek. Because if we did, you sir, would not even have a franchise. I have been a fan since before the days of the steel curtain, and now I am embarrassed for you. Poor decision making has consequences, in the military it may very well mean our life.

  • SoCal Steeler

    Even though he doesn’t want the attention Villy is still a great guy and an American hero. I just bought 3 of his jerseys and a t-shirt. He’s even more of a hero for donating the sales to non profit military organizations. Wish we had a few more like him on the team.

  • LucasY59

    yep its all a big mess, and I agree the league has made a mistake by not already having a policy in place, as far as your views on Trump I have the same, and unfortunately have to disagree with his approach to things a bit too often

  • afrazier9

    See the problem is people don’t realize that we are eating out of garbage and sleeping on the street do you think we as vets give to sh**s about a piece of clothe that y’all salute we are saluting our fellow brothers who have died for the jerk in chief and his band of rich political boy band group. They are getting rich sending us off to fight for their profit and you guys back them in your decisions to keep voting for them. Thanks a lot we appreciate it

  • afrazier9

    We come home to nothing sometimes so please don’t use us as an excuse to be against the NFL

  • afrazier9

    I’m a vet to sir and understand that our brothers have died for the people here and I salute the people that did that because the flag has dogged the same brothers with not taking care of us in our struggles so kneeling or standing means nothing if you are not true to what it’s for fubar to me hoorah Army 92A

  • pittfan


  • pittfan

    Talk to the players about that. In case you haven’t heard, those millionaires aren’t protesting for veterans benefits. Meanwhile Trump passed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Act so worthless VA employees can finally be fired.

  • fairmark

    Lol! He should raise awareness for the epidemic of police brutality sweeping the nation like a Mogul horde!! Er, right?

  • afrazier9

    Let me first say I appreciate that we are having good dialogue. Just as you know they are not protesting for VA rights you should know they are not protesting against the veterans, and men and women who serve this country just the injustice that the country has been doing to everyone not just a certain set of individuals. And this al started up like it did because of trumps words as usual. He has caused problems since he got in the house with his dictator like speeches calling these guys sons of bit***s which means there moms are bit***s. that would bother me just like it has bothered them enough to take a stand which none of the Steelers had done before.

  • pittfan

    I appreciate it as well afrazier9. And let me say I respect your service as I do all vets, regardless of whether I agree with them or not. I came of age in the post Vietnam era when the last thing anybody wanted to do was serve in the military. There was complete distrust of military leadership and complete disrespect for soldier who were spit on and called baby killers. I have many freinds who served during that time and those willing to talk have shared many horror stories about that era. What most of us have learned from that era is that while we may disagree about the political/citizen leadership that put our young men into fighting situations, we should still honor and respect the brave men and women like yourself that served. I see the flag as being a symbol of honoring that sacrifice AND a reminder that despite our differences we are 1 people, ALL AMERICANS. So for me it is a symbol of unity. Much like the Steeler players intended to project by their actions.
    We agree that the genesis of these protest are regarding perceived injustices by police and our court system. Injustices that if indeed true, I myself would be on board protesting. But in a different venue. It is not the cause I object to, it is the venue they choose to express the protest. For example, I lean towards life beginning toward conception, therefore have a real problem with widespread, indiscriminate abortion. That said, I don’t want to see pictures of dead fetus thrust in front of me or the public in the public square by pro-lifers.
    Lastly, Donald Trump did not start this controversy. It began before he was elected. Granted, he did throw gasoline on the fire by his stupid comments but even then, I don’t respect people using the National Anthem as a venue to air their bitches about a political figure when the Anthem is a time to recall national unity.

  • Robin Lee Whitsel-Croft

    You didn’t make them look bad. They did that on their own.

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán

    I couldn’t agree more!